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The last few Saturday nights have been game nights for me. Actually, they’ve all been One Night Ultimate Werewolf nights. I can’t recommend that game enough if you haven’t played it already. But, I’ve already written about that game. Let’s talk about a few more, shall we?
Cash N Guns
This game is not only the answer to the question, “What are many action movies built on?” but also super fun. In Cash N Guns, the aim is to end the game with the most cash. Players all start with the same amount of cards — five no-action “click” cards, two single “bang” cards, and one triple “bang” card. Each round starts with an amount of cash up for grabs that everyone who remains in the round until the end splits evenly. You play your card face down, count down, and point at another player. This is when the mind games start.
Each player, after another countdown, can choose to back out of the round, taking no damage and earning no money but taking a negative-money coward token, or stay in the round and possibly get shot. If you are shot, you don’t get a share of the money and lose one of your three life points. No life left = out of the game. Anyone who played their triple bang card goes first, followed by the single bangs and the clicks which do nothing. All players who are left and weren’t shot split the money evenly, rolling any excess over to the next round.
It’s a fairly simple premise, but the addition of toy guns makes the game 10x more fun. I don’t know why, but it does. Most voting games have you simply point a finger, but pointing an foam gun at other people really does turn up the heat. I only got to play this game once but I definitely want to play it again.
I like cooperative games and Castle Panic is no exception. Players must defend the castle from an always-advancing group of enemies intent on destroying the castle walls. Enemies are placed on the outermost of the four rings surrounding the castle and move up a ring per turn. If a monster would run into a wall or the castle itself, that piece is destroyed. The game ends when either the castle is completely destroyed or all the monsters are dead.
Players all have cards, which might as well be played face up since Castle Panic is cooperative. Each attack card does a single point of damage to a single monster. Archers can attack from the third ring in, knights from the second ring in, and swordsmen only on the innermost ring. Attack cards have colors on them as well to further filter where they can and can’t attack. You can trade and draw cards as well, so planning for not only what is on the board but what may come up is important. Some of those “might come up” things include boss monsters with special modifiers, curses to destroy all of one type of attack card, or a rolling boulder which destroys anything in it’s path, castle walls included.
Castle Panic is a good time, no doubt about it. Mapping out turns in advance and trying to minimize damage with the board working against you takes some good planning skills. It also doesn’t help when the first player to go draws two “draw four more monster” tokens on the first turn of the game (you know who you are). I wouldn’t mind playing another round of Castle Panic, but it’s not my favorite co-op.
Sticking with the medieval theme, Citadels is all about building sets of cards. These cards give you victory points, which you obviously need to win. To get those cards, you’ll need to choose and play roles wisely. There are eight roles which are passed around at the start of every turn. One role is burned to start each round for a little bit of uncertainty. The player who was the king the prior round chooses a card and passes the deck to the next player, continuing around until everyone has a role.
The roles are then called out in number order. The assassin, who picks a role which then misses it’s turn, always goes first. The role who was marked for death doesn’t immediately show themselves, though. That player has to wait until their turn. Similarly, when the thief names a role to steal gold from, that player waits until his turn to give up their gold. Other roles will net you gold based on the cards you have in front of you, destroy other player’s cards, or trade hands with someone. Once your role is called out, you can take money from the center pile, take a new card, or pay to build a card in your hand.
I almost bought Citadels immediately after playing it. Games do take a bit and they are a little involved, but I enjoyed it. It’s always fun to screw people over and deduce which role they took based on their last few turns, and burning someone feels so good. I hope to play Citadels again soon.
Small World is without a doubt my favorite game on this list. Players control many races, like dwarves and trolls, who are competing to dominate a world that is just to small for everyone to live happily ever after. You use your race tokens to conquer adjacent tiles similar to Risk — you move units from one tile to another as long as you have more than the number of enemy units on it in addition to any terrain modifiers, but you must leave at least one behind on the tile you came from. Not only does each race have it’s own advantages, disadvantages, and number of units, but they are further modified by special powers. Sorcerers, for example, can swap an enemy’s single unit with one of their own, but only for adjacent tiles. If the sorcerer race has the flying ability, they can now do that on any tile.
You can control up to two races at any one time, one active and one in decline. If you wish, you can put your currently active race into decline, meaning it is no longer active but the unit tiles stay where they are. You do have to burn a turn doing this, but on your next turn you can buy one of the five race/power combinations available for purchase. This becomes your new active race. The order of the available races matters, though. In order to pick the third race down, you must put money on the first two races above it. This can be dangerous, as that money now goes to another player when they select that race. But, if you really want a race buried down the list, you may have no choice. You earn a point for each area you control at the end of your turn. After a number of turns based on the number of players, the player with the most points wins.
Small World is a ton of a fun. There is a lot to take in with the various races, powers, and board modifiers all in play at once, so games can easily take upwards of an hour. That time is absolutely worth it, though. You can also play Small World 2 on both iOS and Android. I’ll be purchasing Small World soon, you can bet on that.