designed by D. Brad Talton, Jr., published by Level 99 Games
A board game that simulates the buying, selling, trading, and playing of collectible card games. Using stacks of paper money (to make you feel rich), buy and sell fun cards with great parodies of popular franchises and try to build the best hand for use in the upcoming tournament. Buy from the main marketplace, or sell the card on the secondary market, or trade cards for more powerful bonus cards. Collect cards for fighting, or even keep cards for your collection and earn bonus points. All this takes place in a slightly frenzied 20 minute, real-time trading round. Then pick some cards to fight in a tournament! Do this for two more rounds, with ever more powerful cards appearing. Trade, fight, rinse and repeat. Most points earned from collecting cards and placing in tournaments win! But mostly stare at the cards and try to build a good deck with combos that make sense and watch the whole thing get undone anyway by your opponents during the tournament.
So much variety in this game with all the different parodies of famous franchises. So much symbology as you try to put together a small tournament deck that actually makes sense in the limited time allotted. It’s almost overwhelming, but you really get to live out your fantasy of buying and trading all those CCGs! Oh, wait, not your fantasy? Never mind.
“The Heroes of Kaskaria”
designed by Benjamin Schwer, published by HABA
The evil trolls have stolen the Golden Amulet of the Kingdom of Kaskaria! Race on your cliff jumper and scaled griffin to retrieve this valuable treasure! On their turn, players will either draw a card or play two or more cards of the same color to advance their pieces, collect gold, or to add cards to their hand. The first player to arrive at the nest and recover the amulet ends the game, but gold is earned for being furthest along either the cliff jumper track or the scaled griffin track. Whoever has the most gold from collecting it along the way or placing wins! Did I mention this was a HABA kid’s game? My six year-old won and she liked it!
Enough gameplay options to both challenge the kids AND keep the adults in the game without them having to hold back. But with so many colors, it’s sometimes hard to figure out which colors actually match.
designed by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert, published by Asmodee Games & Space Cowboys
Call upon the powers of the Greek Gods and build your legends! Yes, it is a resource management game, and yes, it is a set collection game, but never done like this. Choose from a variety to different gods to start the game: some gods have attack powers, while others are far more peaceful. Each round, draft a card from a central pool and knock down one of four pillars, but make sure the pillar you knock down doesn’t stop you from taking a future card. Then use card powers, but only score them once you transfer them to your Elysium…and then you score points by sets. And it’s maddening in you only get five turns to do all this!
Hard to wrap your head around the mechanic at first, but once you figure out, it’s an elegant system of drafting and building. The variable god powers will set the level of player interaction as well. That’s a good thing.
Designed by Dominque Ehrhard & Michel Lalet, published by Mayfair Games
Explore the wonders of Lascaux in this set collection card game. Cards are set out and each player secretly decides which cards they want. Bid stones to stay in and get first choice of cards: pass, and collect the stones in the pool, but you go to the back of the line in terms of choice! Force your opponents out, get first pick of cards, but you’re out of stones to stay in the next round! But, remember, you only score points if you have the most or tied for the most of one image: one point per card. It’s like “No Thanks,” only you’re bidding to stay in, and man, am I horrible at bluffing. Just. Plain. Horrible.
In short, this is a next level “No Thanks.” Like that one, like this one.