Bananagrams [Game Review]

Bananagrams | Board Game | Gaming | Doublexjump.com

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When we went on vacation with the family at the end of July, we knew board games were going to be a way to bond and pass the time with everyone else. At one point during the week, one of our cousins bought Bananagrams, a fun little game that has no board. Instead, it’s a little banana-shaped pouch filled with letter tiles reminiscent of Scrabble.

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We used to have this game though I think we got rid of it when we went through all our old board games a long time ago. We were at the bookstore and, for some reason, Bananagrams was on a shelf. Our cousin grabbed it and it was the main game of the week. Our go-to games have always been Monopoly, Code Names, and Headbanz, but Bananagrams was the family favorite this year.

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If you haven’t played Bananagrams before, it’s a quick-thinking game where one needs to create words intertwined together like on a personal Scrabble board using all of their letter tiles. All of the letter tiles start face-down in a pile in the middle of all the players. Depending on the number of players, everyone would start off with 15 to 21 tiles, only flipping the tiles over to start creating words when the game begins when someone says, “Split!”

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If you can’t fit a letter into your board, you can exchange that one letter for three in the middle of the pile. If you manage to fit all the letters you can say, “peel” and everyone, including yourself, will have to take one letter from the pile. Once there aren’t enough letters left in the middle for everyone to “peel,” then you can say, “bananas” and claim your win.

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I don’t know why everything is banana-themed — who decided bananas were the best theme for this word game? — but it was still a great time all around. We managed to get everyone in the household playing a couple of games at least, and I cannot decide whether it was easier to create words by starting out with more letters or fewer.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Bananas is a fun word to say and the pouch is easy enough. Not to mention there’s also a game called Apples to Apples, so they couldn’t do that. I would love to try to play the game with double the letters. I believe there is a deluxe version, if you will, that doubles the letters so you can play with more people and have longer games. There was, at one point, when we split all the letters up. There were four of us playing and we each got 36 letters with none left over and we played like that without swapping tiles out at all. Whoever used all their letters first, won. Which is another nice thing about the game is that it’s your personal board so if there’s a letter that you need to fit and can’t, you can rearrange the other words to make it fit.

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Having twice the letters would definitely be more interesting and chaotic. We were amazed at some of the words that the rest of our family came up with, too. Being the writers and bigger readers of the family, Rachel and I thought we would do pretty well conjuring up words, but some of the words that our cousins came up with — dandelion, homicide, bigger words than we usually came up with — were great to see.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Oh, please. I played the game and instantly forgot words existed, tried to make up words, and forgot the concept of spelling. Most of my words – it, them, dog, happy – were short and sweet. I did come up with a couple of good words here and there, though every game was different. I’d love to play again and try to do themed words. Like words related to video games or something. That’d be difficult, but a lot of fun.

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Yahtzee [Board Game Review]

Board Game Review: Yahtzee | Gaming | Review | DoublexJump.com

krismii
Yahtzee is a simple enough game of chance with the main components of the game being five dice. It’s a game that we used to play all the time eons ago while vacationing with family, but we haven’t played it in a long time until recently.

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I house-sat recently and we were going through the games they had. Admittedly, they didn’t have much and while we planned on playing something new, we saw they had Yahtzee and just had to play it again.

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You have a scorecard that details what kind of rolls you should be aiming to get with your three shakes of the dice. The top part of the scorecard has you counting the numbers that you roll, such as twos and threes, while the bottom part is a little more complicated with three of a kind and full house. Of course, there is the Yahtzee part of the scorecard, where you can get fifty points for having all the dice land face up as the same number.

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With each roll, you can take out certain dice that you want to keep if you’re trying to aim for a certain score. For example, if you have three threes, you want to take them out so you can aim for a full house by getting two fours, for example, or even a Yahtzee by getting two more threes. Of course, when we played, my luck was not with me.

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I ended up winning all three games, haha! Honestly, Rachel tends to have higher luck in games of chance than me, so I was surprised. It’s a game that you can probably play just about anywhere as long as you have the dice and a pen and paper to keep score.

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I kept rolling high which is more than I can say when we play DnD, but I couldn’t get the numbers that I needed. Once you get a score for something, you can’t score it again – even if it happens to be better. There’s also some strategy to the game too though which makes it so much harder. There’s a “chance” score where you can just count up the total of the dice and put that down as your score. However, there’s always the possibility of you scoring higher later. If you need to get some scores for having certain numbers, which one do you go for? It’s all chance.

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It is just all chance. The game ends when everyone has something filled in on all spots of their scorecard, even if you’ve taken zero points as certain scores. You cannot pass your turn — rather, we’ve never played it that way — as I’m sure otherwise the game would be a lot longer than it really is. It’s a good game to pass the time and it’s fun to see just how the dice will roll for everyone.

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It’s definitely one of those “classic” games to play. It’s great to play with friends but it’s also not a bad game to play with yourself either. Yahtzee is just a win overall.

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Pandemic [Board Game Review]

Board Game Review: Pandemic | Board Games | Gaming | Pandemic | Game Review | Pandemic Review | DoublexJump.com

krismii
This game has been on our radar for quite some time. We’ve heard nothing but good things about the board game and it was really different from other board games we’ve played. The biggest learning curve for us, I believe, was to remember that it was a cooperative game rather than a competition between all the players.

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Playing a cooperative game was a nice change of pace though. Especially since we normally play just the two of us, most competitive games are harder and would be more fun if there were more of us. Of course, the first time we played (and learned) Pandemic, we played with our cousin Kat.

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Yes, Kat was a great addition to the board game, giving us another to bounce ideas off of and a third voice to help interpret the rules. The main objective of the game is to find cures for four deadly diseases before the population of the world succumbs to them. To do so, you need to find enough “data” on each disease — also known as collecting enough city cards of the same color — and bring your findings to a city with a research center. Once you do so, that particular disease will have a cure. With a limited number of turns determined by the player deck, it’s definitely a challenge!

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“Interpret the rules.” That’s code for Kris reading the rules and trying to explain it to us while Kat and I played with the game pieces. The rules are a lot of fun though. Once you start playing, the game is easy enough to understand, but it’s difficult. We played so many games – with just us or with three people – and I think we won twice.

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Yes, we do not have a great win streak with this game so far. Speaking of the game pieces, there is a bit to set up. Aside from the character pawns — each of which represents a certain role with a special ability or two — there was also the disease tokens, the outbreak and infection rate tokens, and the two deck of cards. The player deck consisted of the many cities you could travel to and the infection deck indicated which city became more infected at the end of every turn.

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To set up the game, you need to spread the virus around a bit so you can, you know, have something to cure. This is done by taking nine cards from the infection deck and, depending on their color – red, blue, yellow, or black – you need to place the virus block on those places. One infection on three places, two infections on three other places, and three infections on the last three places. Now, if a place has three infections already and they get infected again, an outbreak occurs. A place can’t have more than three infections so all the connecting places will end up getting one infection. Get seven outbreaks and the game ends.

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All of the characters start in Atlanta at a research center along with a handful of cards from the player deck, indicating cities that they can charter a flight to. Working together, players must visit cities to start eradicating diseases. When you visit a city, you can take away a virus block as one of your actions. Players can take up to four actions during their turn, including traveling to another city, building a research center, or sharing knowledge with another player that is in the same city as them. Sharing knowledge is crucial, as it enables players to share city cards of the city they are meeting in. Collecting enough city cards of the same color is key to curing the diseases once and for all. During some of our games, we tended to assign a “disease” to each player, saying one would do her best to collect enough blue cards and another to collect black cards as a goal to find cures.

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Depending on which character you choose, you have special skills as well. For example, I personally loved being the Medic because instead of taking away one infection in a city per action, I could take them all away as one action. It helped out a lot, but… we still lost the game a lot. And, honestly, I think we even fudged the rules a couple of times accidentally too. We still kept losing though, but it was a fun challenge nonetheless!

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Lord of the Rings: Quest to Mount Doom [Board Game Review]

Board Game Review: The Lord of The Rings Quest To Mount Doom | Gaming | Board Games | Game Review | Blogging | Gaming Blog | DoublexJump.com

krismii
This game has been on our radar ever since we first saw it at our local Barnes and Noble. Supposedly it’s a Barnes and Noble exclusive, but there are similar-looking games on Amazon. Being fans of the Lord of the Rings franchise, we eventually splurged on the large board game and finally got around to playing it.

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This game, at the time we bought it, was about $50. While the game was fun, I don’t think it was worth $50.

 

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The board itself is rather big, which was fine. It consisted of all the locations that are mentioned in the movies (and probably some from the books) with pathways connecting them. Each pathway had a number of move values that it would take to travel and you could move up to the number you rolled or less than your roll value.

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So, for example, if you rolled a two and had two branching paths – one that had a two and one that had a three, you could only go on the number-two path. Moving around the board was pretty simple and it was a fun way to do it rather than going through one linear path. Plus, there are events cards so that you can move anywhere on the board or move someone else anywhere. Then, of course, you have the cards that tell you a specific place to go.

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The point of visiting as many locations as you can is due to the item cards that can be found. At the start of the game, each location has an item card randomly assigned to it, items that no one knows about because one of the items is the One Ring itself. The object of the game is to obtain the One Ring and deliver it to the Mount Doom location.

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Of course, you need to keep the ring secret from the other players. There are ways to find out if someone has the ring. There’s a Gollum event card that forces whoever has the ring to announce it to everyone. You can also lose the ring if the Eye of Sauron and you land on the same space. It forces to go back to one of the starting points of the game and you have to drop the ring in that location.

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While we imagine that the game can get a little chaotic the more people you play with — as you’ll have more opportunities to sabotage each other, use more event cards, and crash into each other on the board — we were getting a little tired of getting similar event cards and our turns going so quickly. The little character tokens weren’t the greatest quality, either. In fact, I accidentally broke a couple’s feet while trying to snap them out of their grid when first opening the box.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Hence, my point earlier when I don’t think this game is worth the $50. The character tokens were cheap plastic – Kris actually sliced her thumb open trying to get one out – and the event and item cards were repetitive. I don’t think they had enough ideas. Not to mention the fact that the event and item cards had the same backing. So, when we were supposed to put the item cards around the board at each place, we accidentally put the event cards down first.

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I think they had the same backing on purpose, though, considering the creators of the game probably expected the players to be sitting at a table with their hands of cards held up and hidden from the other players. If the character tokens were similar to the tokens in Monopoly — better quality, a little weighted — and the events were much more varied, we probably would have had a better time with the game. Of course, we still had fun and may try the game out with a few friends, but we probably won’t break the game out again too soon.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Overall, the game was pretty good and we did have fun. I think this is one of those games that need more people for it to be more “chaotic” and really have a good time.

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Top Tuesday: Favorite Card Games Growing Up

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Tuesday!

Now that we’ve been doing more card game reviews, it got me thinking about some games I used to play when I was younger. I don’t play card games often, but here are some favorites of mine.

Top Tuesday: Favorite Card Games Growing Up | Video Games | Gaming | Top List | Card Games | Blogging | DoublexJump.com

Uno

Uno is a classic. One thing I love about this game is that it can last five minutes or it can last an hour. It’s so easy to screw over your opponents and yet, it’s so easy to form a temporary truce with an opponent while you both gang up on another player. This game is a lot of fun and yet can be increasingly frustrating depending on the cards you’re dealt or just the people you’re playing with.

War

This is another game that can last a few minutes or last forever – most likely forever. War is simple where you split the deck evenly between the players and flip your cards one at a time. Whoever gets the highest, takes both cards. Whoever loses their deck, loses and the game is over. This is one that can get competitive quickly with my family – especially me.

Go Fish

This is the first game every child learns how to play as soon as they can hold a hand of cards. At least, I think so. I have fond memories playing this game when I was younger, especially with my grandparents. It’s a good game to just relax with.

Solitaire & Spider Solitaire

Speaking of relaxing games, Solitaire and Spider Solitaire are great relaxing games. I have to admit, I was never good at either of them. I used to play Spider Solitaire on the computer when I couldn’t get onto the Internet because my mom was talking on the phone. Show of hands – who remembers those times? Still, whenever I played Solitaire, I used to just click around and if a card moved, that was great. But then I would often get myself stuck and have to start over. It was always a great accomplishment when I actually won a game.

What are some of your favorite card games? Let us know in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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Words with Friends [Board Game Review]

2019_Board_Game_WordsFriends

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Words with Friends is actually the board game version of one of the many games that was on Facebook. I assume the game still exists on Facebook, but I honestly haven’t logged on in ages. Words with Friends is based off of Scrabble and was an interesting game to go back to for us.

rachmii
Words With Friends is a popular mobile game, one that I used to play endlessly with friends and strangers. I love Scrabble though never played it much because I was never any good at it. We’re playing the Words with Friends version because our Scrabble is the original edition and the game is totally falling apart.

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The game is fairly simple. Using the random tiles you pull from the bag — starting with seven — you create words on the board. Your word must branch off of the tiles of existing words already on the board, and you tally up the points of your word using the numerical value on each of the tiles. The more common a letter — such as A or S — the less points it is. Letters such as J or Q are worth more.

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There are a certain amount of each letter in the game as well. For example, there are 12 E tiles but there’s only one Z tile. This is depending on how often a letter is used in words. We played two games – one we totally fudged and changed the rules halfway through. Admittedly, we’re rusty on the actual rules and ended up making rules up as we went along because… why not?

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The important thing is we had fun! Seriously, we were trying to determine how to add up the score of the words, be they acronyms, additional words that were made with whatever word we were adding to the board, math in general… It was a bit of a mess. Our second game was, admittedly, more fun since we decided to have the words be game-centric.

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Apparently, you’re not supposed to have acronyms but we did it anyway because they were in the dictionary. So… right or wrong, we played it our way. The second game was more intense. We wanted gaming terms and it was definitely hard to get started. Once we did though, the game sort of breezed through and, if I do say so myself, we did a pretty good job.

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I think we did a good job as well. At the very least, we were more creative with our words, even if we did get a little silly at the end of the game. In the beginning, I was so close to having the word “Nintendo,” but I was missing a couple of tiles and there wasn’t a spot on the board for it, so I had to abandon the idea. Rachel, on the other hand, was able to use all of her tiles for the word “unlocked,” which was great!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Kris was kind enough to let me put down “unlocked.” There was one spot on the board I was able to use it on so I could use the letter “D,” which was already on the board. She was able to take the spot, but I went into the fetal position and she gave it to me. Thus, the rest of the game was filled with cheating because whenever she needed a certain letter, I just found it in a bag and handed it to her. Still, it was a lot of fun and we definitely need to play Scrabble more often.

Words with Friends gets a rating of…
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Minecraft Card Game [Card Game Review]

Card Game Review: Minecraft Card Game | Gaming | Minecraft | DoublexJump.com

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Minecraft Card Game plays off of the crafting mechanic in the popular Minecraft game. While Rachel and I have dabbled in playing Minecraft, it’s not something either of us play regularly, although I personally would love to try my hand at it more.

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I found this card game by accident on Amazon and decided to get it for Kris for her birthday. The game, surprisingly, wasn’t too bad.

 

 

 

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There are two different types of cards, the Resource cards and the Crafting cards. The object of the game is to craft the most tools — each of which have a point value — using the various resource cards. According to the rule book, whichever player reaches a certain number of points first wins. For a two player game, the point goal was 24 points, but Rachel and I decided to keep going until all the Craft cards were complete.

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Each crafting card also has some sort of power. Each player can only use two actions per turn and some cards can allow you to add an extra action to your turn or take away an action from your opponent’s turn. These actions you can do on your turn is either pick up materials or craft something. However, if you need to pick up two materials for a craft, picking up those two materials is your two actions. It allows your opponent to have an opportunity to craft it themselves if they already have the materials – or they can steal materials you need.

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Aside from mining resources and crafting tools, reserving a craft card is a third action. Reserving a craft card ensures that your opponent won’t be able to craft it and snag the points or the power that the tool grants you. Reserving wasn’t an action that we used often — in all honesty, I believe I did it once — as Rachel and I did our best to just beat each other to the resources and craft the best tools. Resource cards were wood, stone, iron, gold, and diamond, with each card indicating the number of “blocks” of the resource you had. In order to craft a tool, you needed the appropriate amount of resources. Once the resources are used, you put the resource cards into the discard pile, waiting to be used again if one of the five stacks of resource cards ever ran out in the game.

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Honestly, the game wasn’t too bad. I think we had a good time with it. However, if we were to play again, I definitely want to try to put the materials in one pile face-down and not show our materials to each other. I think that would make the game more random and we’d be constantly wondering what our opponent has forcing us to use what we have whenever we can. I think it would make the game more intense, but it’s still fun with the way it’s supposed to be played.

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