Cinque Terre is a colorful, engaging game of harvesting and selling produce in the BEAUTIFUL Italian countryside of Cinque Terre (just look at this place!).
Phew! Back to reality. =-)
This game is a blast and is one of my wife’s all-time favorites. It’s one of the most mentally-engaging games we play on a regular basis, but you can still have fun and do well without the “deep-dive” mental investment.
I love strategy games, and I love card games. Rio Grande’s Renaissance Man is a masterful mix of both. The goal is to create a “master.” In order to do so, you must stack 14 supporting workers (from level one of 5, level two of 4, and so on) underneath the final, game-winning master placed at the top of the pyramid. Sounds easy? Not quite. In order to stack a worker, you practically need to align the stars.
Before even mentioning aspects of the game itself, I must mention the incredible historical aspect of Boxcars. When a stray ping pong ball stuck in a shelf in Uncle Bob’s garage, two board-game-loving, inquisitive brothers asked their long-time family friend, Uncle Bob, what the large United States map was with pencil markings all over it. It was a prototype of a Pirate & Traveler/Monopoly hybrid board game with a railroad twist.
While I chuckled at the sub-title calling El Caballero “a refined strategy game,” (what makes a strategy game refined?), I really enjoyed this game. It reminded me a lot of Carcassonne but with more elements, more trade-offs, and more strategy. Basically, you play as explorers following Columbus as he discovers new islands. The Caballeros are your “minions” that you have at your disposal to assist in taking over territory, purchasing ships, or building Castillos. You have both a supply and a court which houses “activated” Caballeros. Disperse them wisely to take ownership of land or sea. While definitely not the most important element of the game, keep a close eye on the gold and fish tiles which increase the value of your area control.
Monster Factory is a very simple, clever, quick-play game that combines creativity, imagination, and tops it off with a bit of the “gross factor.” Take turns placing tiles to create your first monster followed by its creepy little minions.
Monster Factory has a clever scoring mechanism wherein you get one point for each tile in your “master monster,” as we like to call it. Once you finish this first monster, you can then create minions where you get one point for each tile that has at least one eyeball on it. Be careful, however, as you get zero points for an unfinished monster!