Reviews

Reviews of casual board games.

Völuspá, by Stronghold Games, prominently asks on the back of the box, "Will Thor survive the challenge of the trickster, Loki? Will the Valkyries overtake Odin?" The "Saga of Edda” expansion included with the game is also clearly marked on the box. If the title and theme of this Norse Mythology game don’t pique your interest, bear with me, as there is a fun casual game hidden inside, even though it appears to be intended for fantasy gamers.

Have you ever noticed that easy tasks can become very difficult when you're under pressure? Anomia is a game that drives this pesky truth home, as it pits players against each other to come up with words in a particular category as quickly as possible. It is a card/party game we recently had the opportunity to play that left us, somewhat literally, speechless.

Gameplay

Survive: Escape from Atlantis is a delightfully devious game from Stronghold Games in which the goal is to move your survivors from the sinking island of Atlantis to solid ground located at each corner of the board. Each piece has a hidden point value that players do their best to memorize so they can prioritize their moves and maximize their scores, since only a few of the survivors will make it to safety.

Steve Jackson Games has a well established pedigree in the role-playing game market and Zombie Dice is a nice departure from the stat heavy books of their GURPS line.

Fill the Barn is a farming game by a newcomer to the industry, HoopCAT Games. Players attempt to earn the most money by planting and harvesting different crops that are stacked inside the barn. Space is limited, however, and the earlier the harvest, the more money will be earned.

Hooyah, by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., is a card game in which 1 to 4 players cooperate to complete a Navy SEAL mission. Along the way, players must prepare for and carry out several ops leading up to the final step of the mission. Random events occur during each op that can destroy health and provisions, so careful planning is a must. The number of turns available during each op is also limited, causing players to lose health if planning goes on for too long.

Sometimes you just want to be alone with your favorite cookies. In FoxMind's Smart Cookies, you get to do just that — but instead of eating them, you exercise your brain by solving 64 logic puzzles that gradually increase in difficulty. This educational puzzle game is packed with quality components and challenging play and is intended for 1 player, age 6 or older.

Everyone loves ice cream cones, but are 1 or 2 scoops really enough ice cream to satisfy a craving? How about 10 scoops? ConeZILLA by FoxMind is a simple memory game for 2 to 4 players, ages 6 and up, in which players try to be the first to create a gargantuan 10-scoop cone.

There is a huge treasure buried somewhere in the desert sand and you are an archeologist trying to hone in on its exact location. You'll find smaller treasures along the way that will aid you in your journey, and magical eye stones will give you a glimpse into the hidden treasure's location. The combined vision of all 4 eye stones will tell you exactly where it is—then you'll have to race to dig up the treasure before the other archeologists to claim it as your own!

There are many different word games on the market today, and with good reason: we all are ingrained with vocabulary from the earliest days of our childhood. Turning what is already in our heads into a game has brought immense success to the publishers of Scrabble, Boggle, Bananagrams and others. WOW: World of Words is one of the latest additions to this genre, and we were recently given the opportunity to evaluate it. We wanted to know: does it hold its own?

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