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Space Base (Acquire-To-Zendo)

πŸ‘¨‍πŸš€ All Your Base Are Belong To Us...

2018, 2-5 players Complexity: moderate
Machi Koro is the first tableau-building game I remember playing. It took the mechanics of deck-building--purchasing cards and adding them to your pool--but changed things up by using a die as a randomizer instead of your deck. Purchased cards went in front of you as part of your "tableau" and were activated by a die roll. Some get activated during your turn, some out-of-turn. It's a fun game but it has a slow ramp-up and a huge table footprint. I've played a few others since, notably Valeria: Card Kingdoms, and I like the mechanism, but I've been waiting for someone to really work out the kinks.
In Space Base, John D. Clair worked out the kinks. Let's See It In Action
In Space Base, you and up to four friends are commodores of your individual space fleets competing for a promotion to the admiralty. You have twelve ship-building sectors generating resources for you, which you will then d…
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Smash Up (Acquire-To-Zendo)

πŸ’₯ And Everybody's Smashing Things Down...
2012, 2-4 players Complexity: light/moderate
Smash Up is the flagship title for AEG. It was featured on an early episode of Wil Wheaton's TableTop and with its myriad expansions and party-like atmosphere, it's been a gaming fixture for the last eight years. Let's See It In Action
Smash Up is sort of hybrid of area control gameplay, take that mechanics, and fart jokes. It's built around a gimmick called "shuffle-building". The base game has eight factions in it: Robots, Wizards, Zombies, Pirates, Tricksters, Ninjas, Dinosaurs, and Aliens. The different factions are built around unique gameplay mechanics. Pirates move around from base to base, ninjas play out of turn and do generally sneaky and underhanded things, zombies play cards from the discard pile (known in Magic: The Gathering as "the graveyard"--get it!?), etc, etc, etc. And the gimmick is this: instead of picking one faction, you pick two, shuffle th…

Skull (Acquire-To-Zendo)

πŸ’€ Leave Your Body At The Door...

2011, 3-6 players Complexity: light/moderate
Skull, also known as Skull And Roses, is a bluffing game inspired by Dia De Los Muertos. I've heard apocryphal stories that it was played by the Hell's Angels in biker bars, which is why it's played with coaster.
That's... almost certainly not true, but it's a very intense press-your-luck bluffing game. Let's See It In Action
In Skull, you and two-to-five friends will try to bluff and outbid each other. Every player has a two-sided mat and four coasters, three of which have roses on them, and the last of which has a skull. At the start of the round, you place one coaster on your mat, and then in turn order, each player has the opportunity to either place another skull or make a bid.

The bid is the number of coasters you think you can flip over without revealing a skull--but here's the kicker: you have to flip over all of the coasters on your own mat first. Once one player has bid, each …

Sentinels Of The Multiverse (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🦸🏼 The World Needs A Hero. I AM THAT HERO!
2011, 3-5 players Complexity: medium
In 2011, Christopher Badell and Adam Rebotaro pulled off a trick that every nerdy kid has dreamed of for years. They made a career out of creating a comic book superhero world. This game, the flagship property for Greater Than Games, has cast a long shadow. In addition to expanding its own content, there is a spin-off miniatures game series, a tabletop RPG, and a video game implementation--with some truly epic soundtracks--a tactical video game, a stuffed mechanical raptor, and more. There's a podcast devoted just to the stories behind the characters. There's a forthcoming collaboration with Green Ronin that uses this game engine with characters from Mutants & Masterminds. Let's See It In Action
In Sentinels Of The Multiverse, you and up to four friends will join forces to take on a supervillain. Now, this game is fully cooperative, which means that it can be played solitaire-style without cha…

Schneeble (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🐾 Schneebles Schnobble But They Don't Fall Down...

2017, 3-5 players Complexity: light
I love trick-taking games. I grew up playing Spades at church camp and Hearts on the computer. I never learned Contract Bridge, but I bet I'd be into it. (Serious aside--at what point are Bridge players going to come up with a new word for "trump"? Because that needs to happen.) I hardly ever get to play them because they typically need four players, but I have an assortment, and this is my favorite. Let's See It In Action
Schneeble is a suitless trick-taking game for four players (it includes rules for three and five, but it is ideally played with four) that has cards numbered from 1 to 10. What makes this different from other trick-taking games? Three things. The first is the idea of bumping. There are no suits in Schneeble, so anyone can play any card out of their hand, which allows for ties. When two (or more) players play the same number, those cards are "bumped" wh…

Santorini (Acquire-To-Zendo)

πŸ”± I Ain't Got No Crystal Ball...

2016, 2 players Complexity: light
The island of Santorini is a real place in the Cyclades archipelago in the Aegean Sea. It is known for--among other things--the striking architecture consisting of white cuboid buildings that are occasionally capped with blue domes. Game designer Gordon Hamilton drew inspiration from the architecture of the island to develop an abstract strategy game that he eventually self-published in 2004 (although versions of it have been around for over a decade prior to that), and that was recently re-released by Roxley Games. Let's See It In Action
In Santorini, you and a friend (there are rules to make it playable with 3, but I don't recommend doing so--this is at its heart a 2-player game) will take on the roles of ancient Greek builders. The rules are very simple: on your turn, you move one of your two pieces and then build.

Pieces can move to any adjacent or diagonal square. They can move up one level or down any num…

Sagrada (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🌈 I'd As Soon Destroy A Stained-Glass Window As An Artist Like Yourself...


2017, 2-4 players Complexity: light/moderate
Skilled artisans have traveled to Barcelona to see who among them can build the most beautiful stained-glass windows for the Sagrada Familia. Draft dice that represent shades of glass while you assemble your masterpiece. Let's See It In Action
In Sagrada, you and up to three players will compete to assemble the most beautiful stained glass windows by collecting dice over the course of ten rounds. At the start of each round, the active player will roll a number of dice equal to twice the number of players plus one (so, five dice in a two-player game).

Dice are available in five colors and each face of the die represents a different shade. Once the dice are rolled, the active player takes a die and adds it to their pane in an attempt to fill out the design that they have selected. Each design has dots on the bottom right corner to indicate how difficult it is, and d…