Reviews

Reviews of casual board games.

A review of Fairy Land by ElfinWerks. Fairy Land is a strategic casual card game for 2-4 players and takes approximately 30-45 minutes to play.

Who knew buying and selling real estate could be so much fun? In For Sale by Gryphon Games, there are no banks, realtors, title companies, or legalese required, just a very simple and fun casual gaming experience. Players bid on different properties ranging from a cardboard box to a space station, then turn around and sell them for (hopefully) more money.

How about a double-feature? Learn about Tokaido, an elegant game by Fun Forge and Passport Game Studios, and enter to win a brand new copy to try out for yourself.

How much fun can be had with a small deck of 52 cards? Quite a bit. Standard playing cards have been around for many centuries and continue to be one of the most widely-used game components, perhaps due to the vast number of different games in existence that use them. But what about a custom deck of cards designed for a single game?

Playing cards on dice? Yes, please! Square Shooters breathes new life into the familiar game of Poker by creating 9 dice that have been cleverly designed to allow for the rolling of most common Poker hands. These dice form the basis of the Square Shooters game, which includes a standard set of rules in which players attempt to roll the hand displayed on a “target” card with up to 3 rolls of the dice. Special “shootout” cards, when drawn, add some spice and additional choices to the game. There are also several variations on the original game and other card games, such as Rummy, included in the box.

Duck! Duck! Go! is a bathtub racing game from APE Games that had us smiling from the very moment we opened the box. The assortment of rubber duckies included in the game are both humorous and well-made and are central to the charm of the game. The box sent to us includes an alien duck and dead duck, among others, which are just a few of the over 150 varieties offered by the publisher.

Word on the Street is a fun party game from Out of the Box Games that tests players’ vocabulary and spelling skills to the limits. Players form two competing teams who are battling, tug-of-war style, over the letters that are placed on the center of the street. On each round, one team draws a category card and spells a word in that category that will push the most possible letters closer to their own side of the board as it is spelled. The opposing team may jump in to try to cause distraction or confusion, which always gets hearts pumping faster as the timer draws to an end.

Octopus’ Garden is a calm and lightly strategic game from Valley Games in which players take on the role of octopuses planting an undersea garden. Pearls are traded for a row or column of three items in the marketplace and then planted in a player’s garden for points. But they shouldn’t be planted just anywhere, as careful planning will attract seahorses and clownfish for bonus points. In addition, the sea stars are worth a high amount of points, yet on each turn they move ever closer to devouring the oysters, which are the source of valuable pearls for purchasing more items.

Tsuro: The Game of the Path is a quality casual game published by Calliope Games that has been in print for some time, yet nevertheless deserves a mention here if we are to call ourselves casual game enthusiasts. When explaining the concept of casual games back when we were first defining our cause, it was not uncommon to hear people say, "Oh, so a casual game is like Tsuro!"

A review of Farmerama: The Board Game, an adaptation of a popular browser game by Ravensburger. Find out what sets the board game version apart from its online predecessor.

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