Citadels. Since it was the first time for a few of us (including me, having watched it almost 2 to 3 times but always arriving at a party after a game had started) we stuck to the basic game without the expansion. Citadels is a card game with a simple premise like many other base building games – build up a city to a full 8 districts, and there’s when the game ends. The twist, however, is how there is a form of character selection, ranging from Kings to Architects to Thieves, that can give various benefits to each player, and as each player selects their character, the pile of available characters to select dwindles.
Citadels is a game for 2-7 players, and can be enjoyed by young and old. I do suggest about 5 players to keep things interesting.
Geek Rating: Level 3Race for the Galaxy. This is a game which has been getting some good raves in the past 2 years, quickly coming up with 3 new expansions in no time, each adding their own layer of complexity – at this point we’d gotten our hands on the first expansion (by now we have all of them, and duplicates or triplicates too). Race is another base building game, except this time you build a collection of planets, each with their own benefits. The game is quite a bit more complex than Citadels – it’s simple enough to understand, especially with each person getting a placemat that guides them through the stages of play, and with icons that indicate what gets triggered with each turn, but keeping a tab on everything can get out of hand as the game matures, especially for a casual player. Seasoned players also have some of the early game strategies all memorised, which can put newbies at a bit of a disadvantage, but with each expansion the depth of gameplay increases and the playing field levels out just due to the sheer number of permutations. If you’re in for a slight bit of challenge, a strong dose of strategy and resource management, you can’t go wrong with Race for the Galaxy.
Race for the Galaxy is a game for 2-4 players. Subsequent expansions have allowed for up to 6 players, and have also included an AI player that you can play against when no one wants to play with you. I’d suggest players of 14 years old and above.
Geek Rating: Level 4Chez Geek.
I’m not sure which expansion was included, since it was a borrowed game stuck into a box, but it’s something we’d played before. It did take a while for us to get the rules refreshed, but from then on it got quite simple. The game involves chosing various characters and getting them to be as slack as possible while partaking in various activities that cost money or time – which are limited by the quality of your dice rolls. Things attempt to take a hilarious slant by featuring as many silly geeky situations as possible (some very adult), sadly the game itself is quite a bit of a drag and doesn’t stay fun for very long. Some of the stereotypes are pretty funny, but the rest of it becomes a drag. Use it, I guess, when you need to take a breather between Race for the Galaxy and Pandemic. Not too difficult to play, but no too fun either.
Chez Geek is a game for 2-8 players, and you do need the numbers and interest to keep the energy levels up. Due to the constant mentions of nookie, you might want to keep this away from kids.
Geek Rating: Level 2Space Hulk. We didn’t get to play this due to lack of time, but a sample setup of it indicated that it might be a pretty darn good game for 2 players. Since there was 5 of us that day a 2 player game seemed a little out of point, but I know we do want to try it one day! This is also a limited edition re-release, so if you’re interested, do get your hands on it before it’s gone for good.