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Reviews

Reviews of casual board games.

You've almost certainly played Chess — but have you played it using cards? Probably not. King's Ransom, by General Nonsense Games, will feel quite familiar to anyone who has played Chess. The cards contain various Chess pieces which offer similar movement abilities, yet the game introduces some luck and different types of strategy. But is there enough new gameplay here to keep the attention of a casual gamer?

Bazaar is a reprint by Gryphon Games that is, at its core, all about currency exchange. Fortunately for those of us who choose not to engage in public displays of arithmetic, there are no numbers involved — just colors.

Quartex is an abstract tile-laying game by CSE Games in which players try to complete the shapes located on the corners of the tiles. Boring, right? Wrong! We found this game to be quite engaging.

Mine, by KTP Games, is not about mining, as some may presume. Instead, it is an abstract dice game in which players try to roll certain combinations of dice to gain ownership of game cards ("That card is MINE!"). It's not much to look at, but is there a fun game here?

Discover your friends' surprising secrets! This fourth installment of the Closet Report series analyzes Looney Lab's party game, Choose One!, which reveals how well you know your friends and how well they know you.

Charades is the age-old acting game in which players portray a word or phrase physically rather than verbally. It is so well-known that numerous spin-offs have been created, with varying degrees of success. Double Take, a party game for 3 to 8 players by R&R Games, is one such game. The twist? Two players co-star, trying to get the other players to guess a 2-part word or phrase. One player acts out the first half, while the other player acts out the second.

Who's most likely to lie about their age? Oprah, Justin Bieber, or your mom? It's most certainly debatable, so why not put it to a vote? That's the point of Majority Rules, a party game by FoxMind for 3 to 8 players, ages 14 and up.

If there's anything that TV shows like BattleBots have taught us, it's that the best possible use of robots is to watch them fight each other to the death. Sure, robots can come in handy for many productive uses, as well, but they're not nearly as entertaining. Stak Bots, by UK publisher DogEared Games, is a small Kickstarter-funded card game that pits stacks of robots against each other to use their unique attack abilities to gain victory.

Welcome to the lighter side of the loony bin: this third installment of the Closet Report series analyzes Stratus Games' offering of mental state mayhem and answers for all time the age-old question, "Are you sure you're all right in the head?"

Chess is the classic game that takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. This Closet Report analyzes the ancient game of Chess as a baseline for comparing other games to be featured in the series.

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