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The year is 1926, and it is the height of the Roaring Twenties. Flappers dance till dawn in smoke-filled speakeasies, drinking alcohol supplied by rum runners and the mob. It’s a celebration to end all celebrations in the aftermath of the War to End All Wars.
Yet a dark shadow grows in the city of Arkham. Alien entities known as Ancient Ones lurk in the emptiness beyond space and time, writhing at the thresholds between worlds. Occult rituals must be stopped and alien creatures destroyed before the Ancient Ones make our world their ruined dominion.
Only a handful of investigators stand against the Arkham Horror. Will they prevail?
Arkham Horror (Third Edition) is a cooperative board game for one to six players who take on the roles of investigators trying to rid the world of eldritch beings known as Ancient Ones. Based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, players will have to gather clues, defeat terrifying monsters, and find tools and allies if they are to stand any chance of defeating the creatures that dwell just beyond the veil of our reality.
The game is split into a series of rounds made up of four phases.
- The Action Phase
- The Monster Phase
- The Encounter Phase
- The Mythos Phase
The Action Phase sees your investigators fighting back against the dark power of the mythos. During this phase, each investigator can perform two different actions.
- Move – Investigators can move up to two spaces in the city, spending money to hire speedy transport and move additional spaces. The space where you end your turn will determine what encounter card you draw later in the turn.
- Gather Resources – Gain one dollar token, which can be used to purchase items and goods as well as increase how far you can move
- Focus – Focus one of your skills, increasing its value.
- Ward – Attempt to remove doom from your location. Increasing doom means danger for the investigators, and removing doom can delay these apocalyptic heraldings.
- Attack – Attack a monster engaged with you.
- Evade – Try to escape from a monster engaged with you.
- Research – Search for clues at your location.
- Trade – Trade money, clues, items, and more with other investigators at your location.
7 Wonders New Edtion
Make the right decisions to lead your civilization to prosperity!
Lead one of the seven greatest cities of Antiquity. Develop your civilization on a military, scientific, cultural, and economic level. Once built, will your Wonder bring you glory for millennia to come? No downtime, renewed fun in each game and perfect balance regardless of the number of players.
- A complete visual revamp of the game all while keeping its famous mechanics
- 30 minutes per game and up to 7 players, who are all playing at the same time
- Quick games which are always different thanks to the variety of cards and boards
In the 1920s, Mr. MacDowell, a gifted astrologer, immediately detected a supernatural being upon entering his new house in Scotland. He gathered eminent mediums of his time for an extraordinary séance, and they have seven hours to make contact with the ghost and investigate any clues that it can provide to unlock an old mystery.
Unable to talk, the amnesiac ghost communicates with the mediums through visions, which are represented in the game by illustrated cards. The mediums must decipher the images to help the ghost remember how he was murdered: Who did the crime? Where did it take place? Which weapon caused the death? The more the mediums cooperate and guess well, the easier it is to catch the right culprit.
In Mysterium, a reworking of the game system present in Tajemnicze Domostwo, one player takes the role of ghost while everyone else represents a medium. To solve the crime, the ghost must first recall (with the aid of the mediums) all of the suspects present on the night of the murder. A number of suspect, location and murder weapon cards are placed on the table, and the ghost randomly assigns one of each of these in secret to a medium.
Each hour (i.e., game turn), the ghost hands one or more vision cards face up to each medium, refilling their hand to seven each time they share vision cards. These vision cards present dreamlike images to the mediums, with each medium first needing to deduce which suspect corresponds to the vision cards received. Once the ghost has handed cards to the final medium, they start a two-minute sandtimer. Once a medium has placed their token on a suspect, they may also place clairvoyancy tokens on the guesses made by other mediums to show whether they agree or disagree with those guesses.
After time runs out, the ghost reveals to each medium whether the guesses were correct or not. Mediums who guessed correctly move on to guess the location of the crime (and then the murder weapon), while those who didn’t keep their vision cards and receive new ones next hour corresponding to the same suspect. Once a medium has correctly guessed the suspect, location and weapon, they move their token to the epilogue board and receive one clairvoyancy point for each hour remaining on the clock. They can still use their remaining clairvoyancy tokens to score additional points.
If one or more mediums fail to identify their proper suspect, location and weapon before the end of the seventh hour, then the ghost has failed and dissipates, leaving the mystery unsolved. If, however, they have all succeeded, then the ghost has recovered enough of its memory to identify the culprit.
Mediums then group their suspect, location and weapon cards on the table and place a number by each group. The ghost then selects one group, places the matching culprit number face down on the epilogue board, picks three vision cards — one for the suspect, one for the location, and one for the weapon — then shuffles these cards. Players who have achieved few clairvoyancy points flip over one vision card at random, then secretly vote on which suspect they think is guilty; players with more points then flip over a second vision card and vote; then those with the most points see the final card and vote.
If a majority of the mediums have identified the proper suspect, with ties being broken by the vote of the most clairvoyant medium, then the killer has been identified and the ghost can now rest peacefully. If not, well, perhaps you can try again…
In Catan (formerly The Settlers of Catan), players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. On each turn dice are rolled to determine what resources the island produces. Players collect these resources (cards)—wood, grain, brick, sheep, or stone—to build up their civilizations to get to 10 victory points and win the game.
Setup includes randomly placing large hexagonal tiles (each showing a resource or the desert) in a honeycomb shape and surrounding them with water tiles, some of which contain ports of exchange. Number disks, which will correspond to die rolls (two 6-sided dice are used), are placed on each resource tile. Each player is given two settlements (think: houses) and roads (sticks) which are, in turn, placed on intersections and borders of the resource tiles. Players collect a hand of resource cards based on which hex tiles their last-placed house is adjacent to. A robber pawn is placed on the desert tile.
A turn consists of possibly playing a development card, rolling the dice, everyone (perhaps) collecting resource cards based on the roll and position of houses (or upgraded cities—think: hotels) unless a 7 is rolled, turning in resource cards (if possible and desired) for improvements, trading cards at a port, and trading resource cards with other players. If a 7 is rolled, the active player moves the robber to a new hex tile and steals resource cards from other players who have built structures adjacent to that tile.
Points are accumulated by building settlements and cities, having the longest road and the largest army (from some of the development cards), and gathering certain development cards that simply award victory points. When a player has gathered 10 points (some of which may be held in secret), he announces his total and claims the win.
Catan has won multiple awards and is one of the most popular games in recent history due to its amazing ability to appeal to experienced gamers as well as those new to the hobby.
In Pandemic, several virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world! The players are disease-fighting specialists whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand.
The game board depicts several major population centers on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. A deck of cards provides the players with these abilities, but sprinkled throughout this deck are Epidemic! cards that accelerate and intensify the diseases’ activity. A second, separate deck of cards controls the “normal” spread of the infections.
Taking a unique role within the team, players must plan their strategy to mesh with their specialists’ strengths in order to conquer the diseases. For example, the Operations Expert can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases and which allow for greater mobility between cities; the Scientist needs only four cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal five—but the diseases are spreading quickly and time is running out. If one or more diseases spreads beyond recovery or if too much time elapses, the players all lose. If they cure the four diseases, they all win!
The 2013 edition of Pandemic includes two new characters—the Contingency Planner and the Quarantine Specialist—not available in earlier editions of the game.
Pandemic is the first game in the Pandemic Series.
Dead of Winter
“Crossroads” is a game series from Plaid Hat Games that tests a group of survivors’ ability to work together and stay alive while facing crises and challenges from both outside and inside. Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game, the first title in this series, puts 2-5 players in a small, weakened colony of survivors in a world in which most of humanity is either dead or diseased, flesh-craving monsters. Each player leads a faction of survivors, with dozens of different characters in the game.
Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative psychological survival game. This means players are working together toward one common victory condition, but for each individual player to achieve victory, they must also complete their personal secret objective, which could relate to a psychological tick that’s fairly harmless to most others in the colony, a dangerous obsession that could put the main objective at risk, a desire for sabotage of the main mission, or (worst of all) vengeance against the colony! Games could end with all players winning, some winning and some losing, or all players losing. Work toward the group’s goal, but don’t get walked all over by a loudmouth who’s looking out only for their own interests!
Dead of Winter is an experience that can be accomplished only through the medium of tabletop games, a story-centric game about surviving through a harsh winter in an apocalyptic world. The survivors are all dealing with their own psychological imperatives, but must still find a way to work together to fight off outside threats, resolve crises, find food and supplies, and keep the colony’s morale up.
Dead of Winter has players making frequent, difficult, heavily-thematic, wildly-varying decisions that often have them deciding between what’s best for the colony and what’s best for themselves. The rulebook also includes a fully co-operative variant in which all players work toward the group objective with no personal goals.
In Small World, players vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all.
Designed by Philippe Keyaerts as a fantasy follow-up to his award-winning Vinci, Small World is inhabited by a zany cast of characters such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs, and even humans, who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other races off the face of the earth.
Picking the right combination from the 14 different fantasy races and 20 unique special powers, players rush to expand their empires – often at the expense of weaker neighbors. Yet they must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory!
On each turn, you either use the multiple tiles of your chosen race (type of creatures) to occupy adjacent (normally) territories – possibly defeating weaker enemy races along the way, or you give up on your race letting it go “into decline”. A race in decline is designated by flipping the tiles over to their black-and-white side.
At the end of your turn, you score one point (coin) for each territory your races occupy. You may have one active race and one race in decline on the board at the same time. Your occupation total can vary depending on the special abilities of your race and the territories they occupy. After the final round, the player with the most coins wins.
Splendor is a game of chip-collecting and card development. Players are merchants of the Renaissance trying to buy gem mines, means of transportation, shops—all in order to acquire the most prestige points. If you’re wealthy enough, you might even receive a visit from a noble at some point, which of course will further increase your prestige.
On your turn, you may (1) collect chips (gems), or (2) buy and build a card, or (3) reserve one card. If you collect chips, you take either three different kinds of chips or two chips of the same kind. If you buy a card, you pay its price in chips and add it to your playing area. To reserve a card—in order to make sure you get it, or, why not, your opponents don’t get it—you place it in front of you face down for later building; this costs you a round, but you also get gold in the form of a joker chip, which you can use as any gem.
All of the cards you buy increase your wealth as they give you a permanent gem bonus for later buys; some of the cards also give you prestige points. In order to win the game, you must reach 15 prestige points before your opponents do.
Ticket to Ride
With elegantly simple gameplay, Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes. Players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous route.
“The rules are simple enough to write on a train ticket – each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets,” says Ticket to Ride author, Alan R. Moon. “The tension comes from being forced to balance greed – adding more cards to your hand, and fear – losing a critical route to a competitor.”
Ticket to Ride continues in the tradition of Days of Wonder’s big format board games featuring high-quality illustrations and components including: an oversize board map of North America, 225 custom-molded train cars, 144 illustrated cards, and wooden scoring markers.
Since its introduction and numerous subsequent awards, Ticket to Ride has become the epitome of a “gateway game” — simple enough to be taught in a few minutes, and with enough action and tension to keep new players involved and in the game for the duration.
Carcassonne is a tile-placement game in which the players draw and place a tile with a piece of southern French landscape on it. The tile might feature a city, a road, a cloister, grassland or some combination thereof, and it must be placed adjacent to tiles that have already been played, in such a way that cities are connected to cities, roads to roads, etcetera. Having placed a tile, the player can then decide to place one of their meeples on one of the areas on it: on the city as a knight, on the road as a robber, on a cloister as a monk, or on the grass as a farmer. When that area is complete, that meeple scores points for its owner.
During a game of Carcassonne, players are faced with decisions like: “Is it really worth putting my last meeple there?” or “Should I use this tile to expand my city, or should I place it near my opponent instead, giving him a hard time to complete their project and score points?” Since players place only one tile and have the option to place one meeple on it, turns proceed quickly even if it is a game full of options and possibilities.
Who—or what—is out there?
Colonize the galaxy in Cosmic Encounter! This game of interstellar exploration, negotiation, and conflict invites three to five players to lead their own unique alien civilizations as they seek to spread across the stars. But every planet is ruled by someone, and the only way to expand your cosmic colonies is through either diplomacy or war. By establishing colonies on five planets beyond the reaches of your home system, you will safeguard the future of your species and earn victory. But if you fail, you will fall into the black abyss of space! Every game of Cosmic Encounter is different, and the tables can turn in an instant.
Forge your alliances, outwit your enemies, and spread your colonies across the galaxy!
One player is the storyteller for the turn and looks at the images on the 6 cards in her hand. From one of these, she makes up a sentence and says it out loud (without showing the card to the other players).
Each other player selects the card in their hands which best matches the sentence and gives the selected card to the storyteller, without showing it to the others.
The storyteller shuffles her card with all the received cards. All pictures are shown face up and every player has to bet upon which picture was the storyteller’s.
If nobody or everybody finds the correct card, the storyteller scores 0, and each of the other players scores 2. Otherwise the storyteller and whoever found the correct answer score 3. Players score 1 point for every vote for their own card.
The game ends when the deck is empty or if a player scores 30
One Thousand Milestones. On French roads there were small marker stones giving the distance in kilometres to the next town. In this famous old French card game, players compete to drive 1000 km, dealing with hazards along the way. Draw a card to your hand, play or discard. You must lay a green traffic light to start, play cards showing mileage, dump hazards (flat tire, speed limit) on the other players, remedy hazards (spare tire, end of limit) from yourself, play safety cards (puncture proof), and try to be the first to clock up the distance.
Spot it!, a.k.a. Dobble, is a simple pattern recognition game in which players try to find an image shown on two cards.
Each card in original Spot it! features eight different symbols, with the symbols varying in size from one card to the next. Any two cards have exactly one symbol in common. For the basic Spot it! game, reveal one card, then another. Whoever spots the symbol in common on both cards claims the first card, then another card is revealed for players to search, and so on. Whoever has collected the most cards when the 55-card deck runs out wins!
Rules for different games – each an observation game with a speed element – are included with Spot it!, with the first player to find a match either gaining or getting rid of a card. Multiple versions of Spot it! have been published, with images in each version ranging from Halloween to hockey to baseball to San Francisco.
Rory’s Story Cubes
Here’s a game that’s enormous fun and will sharpen your wits and hone your imagination. The 54 images were designed by Rory O’Connor of Ireland, a trainer in creativity and creative problem-solving. They can be used to arrive at answers or decisions in an indirect and ingenious way.
Originally Rory had put the images on the faces of a Rubik’s Cube, and players would turn the Cube to scramble the images, then choose one side to play with. Kate Jones of Kadon Enterprises suggested putting the 54 images on 9 separate cubes, to allow for quicker ways to generate more varied combinations, including conceptual puzzles. Rory readily agreed, having considered the 9-cubes idea himself earlier. At a creativity conference held at Kadon headquarters in May 2004, a prototype was whipped up, and in 2005 Kadon launched the cubes version of Rory’s Story Cubes.
Each jumbo 1″ cube has 6 images or icons, with a total of 54 all-different hand-inlaid images that can be mixed in over 10 million ways. You roll all 9 cubes to generate 9 random images and then use these to invent a story that starts with “Once upon a time…” and uses all 9 elements as part of your narrative.
Play it as a game for one or more players, or as a party game for three or more. Or play it as an improv game where each player contributes part of the story, picking up where the last one left off. Win award points for speedy delivery, inventiveness, imagination, drama and humor.
Full instructions include several other ways to use the cubes to solve problems, break up writer’s block, enhance your imagination and heighten your ability to find unifying themes among the diverse images. Interpret or get at the meanings of your answers more quickly. It’s fun, easy, and mind-stretching.
As a puzzle the cubes will really give your imagination a work-out. You’ll practically feel both sides of your brain dancing. The challenge: Fit the 9 cubes into a 3×3 square. Now examine the cubes in any one row and turn them so their tops have something in common. Do this for all 3 rows. Explain your choices, or challenge another player to identify the element they share. More than one answer may be right, and there are thousands of possible combinations.
Rory’s Story Cubes are recommended for all ages over 8, though it’s fun to watch a younger child create combinations with the cubes and make up stories.