I got my first taste at Euro flavoured board games after getting some for free from Mouser during last years freebie give-away and I promised him then that I would give my short reviews on those board games. Now, a year later, due to the enjoyment I had playing those games, I feel compelled to give mini reviews not only on the ones that I got from DC, but on the assortment of other board games I have accumulated since then. I won't describe every game, just the ones that I feel there is something to say. I don't want to describe the rules of the games, since there are thousands of reviews you can find for that information. I am just going to give my impression of the games after playing them.
I rate as follows:
Creativity: the level of unique elements in the games
Strategy: inverse to the amount of luck ( I ask, how likely is it to win based on what is drawn )
Interactivity: The amount of time I spend talking vs. taking actions
Play value: The amount of games you will get out of this game.
Probably the most interesting game I got from the DC give-away and the third best game I own, Cutthroat Caverns is a fast paced, light, and non-competitive card game. Buying the expansions is essential, especially the second and third expansions, since the initial game lacks a lot of essential elements that makes cuthroat fun to play. I would like to stress that the game is non-competitive. It is not fun playing cutthroat with people who are trying too hard to win. This game is in a very small category of games where you are both competing and cooperating at the same time, so people who are trying to win exclusively tend to screw over all the other players and make the game not fun for them. The game has lots of initial play value when no one has seen any of the encounters. Later, you can pick the encounters you want to play with to keep it interesting.
Play value: About 20 games
This game has lots of strategy but is fundamentally flawed. A lot of it has to do with the ways you move your units. If you are a WWII history buff, you might enjoy trying to recreate some of the battles, but the mechanics of the game makes the whole experience very unrealistic. Why can't I combine these units together to make a stronger unit, or break them into two smaller ones to outflank my opponent? It is only 2 player so don't even think about buying this for a party.
Interactivity: Slightly more interactive than chess.
Play value: Don't bother.
Battlestar Galactica - The Board Game:
This game is the best game I own. Knowledge of the show is not required and can even be hindrance to some players who want the game to follow the same plot trajectory as the show. The game is only ideal for enthusiastic and involved players, since it is rules heavy and requires attentiveness to be played properly. A single player who has not been properly initiated before the game starts can ruin the game for everyone. The game's main draw is its traitor mechanic. It is very fun to be a Cylon secretly sabotaging the other players and it is very fun to be human trying to figure out who you can trust. Every game is different, and every one of those games there is a story to tell about it afterwards. BSG is best played with 4 or 5 players.
Play Value: I have probably played about 40 games so far and counting.
This game I bought fairly recently, so I cannot account for it's play value. It is a game of very complex strategy and depth but the core of the game is simple. Most people will need a game to learn how to play. It is the second best game I own right now, and the most frequent that ends up on the table.
Play Value: Unknown, Played about 6 games.
It only takes about 15 minutes to play a game of Resistance so that factor alone might make it a worthy purchase. The reason why my group does not play it is because every time we have played, the spys have won. Maybe there are some alternate rules which make this game balanced; I have not found any.
Play Value: about 5 right now, subject to change.
I hate this game. It may have a lot of strategy to it, but for what purpose? Putting down building cards is boring. If there were more interesting building cards that more substantially altered the rules of the game, it would be a lot more fun. As it is now, the only fun part about this game is trying to steal other peoples gold. And you don't get to do that often enough.
Play Value (-17) games my friends forced me to play.
Carcassone - Big Box + River 2 expansion
As the title says, this game comes in a really big box. There are lots of different ways to play to suit your tastes. It can also be played competitively with two people but not more than two. I claim there is a lot more strategy to this game than others give credit, otherwise I cannot explain why I am so bad at it. There is a lot of randomness, and it plays in a style a lot of people would describe as "dominoes with a twist." I think it is light fun, and a great default game to fall back on when you don't want to play anything else. It is a game that is agreeable to everybody, but no one is going to love it.
Play Value: 40 games