Previous roundups: Pandemic/Vegas Showdown/10 more, Carcassonne/King of Tokyo/Saboteur/Tsuro of the Seas, Cards Against Humanity/King of New York/Resistance/Ticket to Ride, Bang! The Dice Game/Fluxx/Forbidden Desert/Star Realms
Round and round the dice and cards go, where they stop nobody knows! Four more games, coming right up.
Aviation is easily one of the oldest games I’ve ever played, having been made in the 1920’s. You are trying to deliver air mail across the country in a numbered order, starting in Boston and moving on through New York, Philadelphia, and so on. You cannot play a later numbered card before playing the previous numbers, so you might be stuck with a bunch of high-number cards in your hand for an entire game (like I was). An important note is that there are a decreasing number of each card available as the game continues. For example, there are only four #12s in the deck, so if you are playing with four players and have a few 12’s, you’ve got some power.
Players draw a card, play a card, and then draw a separate delay/release card which may delay you from playing cards, release that problem, or force other players to be delayed. There is also an element of looking forward when you have to pass cards to the next player. Aviation is a decently fun game, but I wouldn’t jump at the chance to play it again.
Cheaty Mages is similar to Colossal Arena (shameless plug to roundup #1, linked above) in that there are monsters fighting for glory and you bet on who you think will win. Each monster starts off with a power level and the one with the highest power level at the end of the round wins. Your bets are kept secret and you can make anywhere from one to three bets, although winning with only one bet nets more money than winning with two or three. A nice twist in Cheaty Mages is that you are dealt a hand of cards to play, each of which add to the mana pool of a monster, which can increase/decrease power levels, double the effect of a card, etc. As you can see in the image above, some cards are played face down while some are played face up, so it’s important to track who plays what card on what monster.
Each round also has a judge. Judges have different effects on the round — some judges will disqualify a monster if it’s mana pool is too high while some don’t allow certain types of spells. Sometimes the best play is to add a giant buff to a monster you haven’t bet on just to get it’s mana count up.
Cheaty Mages is a pretty fun game. Rounds have an interesting cycle of planning and secrecy while playing cards followed by the big reveal at the end of the round.
I could really go for some sushi tonight. Anyway, Sushi Go! is a hand management game built around creating sets of cards. You’ll start with your hand, choose a card to play, and pass your hand to the next player. There are multiple ways to score points: certain cards like tempura (two) and sashimi (three) need multiple cards before you score any points, one roll increases in value everytime you play another of the same card, while wasabi multiplies the value of a card played after it. You also can play chopsticks, which let you play two cards on a subsequent turn. Oh, and we can’t forget about dessert! The player(s) with the most pudding at the end of the game scores points while the player(s) lose points.
It’s important to not only play your cards intelligently, but to also be wary of what players down the line are going for. If the player next to you has two of a set of three and you have his card in your hand, you might want to play it and score nothing just so he can’t score huge. Sushi Go! is quick, fun, and easy to pick up.
We Didn’t Playtest This at All
In a similar vein to Fluxx, the cards in We Didn’t Playtest This at All give you all the information you need to know. Players start with two cards and take turns drawing one and playing one. Some cards simply say “you lose”, meaning a player is done for. You might have the table all throw rock/paper/scissors and anyone who threw scissors is out. A rule might be in play forcing players to say a phrase prior to certain action and forgetting so means that they lose. You might be attacked by dragons or lasers, which of course means that you’re out. Basically, you have to keep up with the current set of rules and be the last one standing.
I was surprised how fun this game was, to be honest. Rounds last five to ten minutes and you can play with a huge number of players. I have a feeling this game would be even more fun after a few beers.