jeff’s pick: 5-minute dungeon
5-Minute Dungeon is a chaotic, co-operative, real-time card game in which players have only five minutes to escape the randomized dungeon. Communication and teamwork are critical to survival because there's no time to form a carefully considered plan — and no predicting what dangers lie ahead.
In more detail, players assume the role of one of ten heroes, each with special cards and abilities. Once the five-minute timer starts, the race is on to defeat all the monsters inside the dungeon. In order to defeat a monster, players must match symbols from their hand with ones on the monster's card. At the end of each dungeon is a powerful dungeon boss — and after the first boss is defeated, the campaign continues to the second boss. Each boss, and each randomized dungeon, gets harder until players reach the fifth and final boss.- BoardGameGeek.com
cody’s pick: trapwords
The game is for 2 teams, divided into two approximately equivalent number of players and takes about 30 minutes to play.
It could remind you of the classic word game known as Taboo, but this one has an interesting twist on gameplay – the opposing team is the one who chooses the words you cannot use. With you having no idea which words are "traps", it’s like dancing on a minefield, when you’re trying to describe your assigned word to the rest of the team.
You take the role of a group of adventurers crawling through a fantasy dungeon full of traps and curses, with a Boss waiting for you at the end.
You have to successfully guess a word that one of your teammates is trying to describe to you. Sounds simple, but it is made fiendishly difficult by not knowing which words you can't say. Because both teams are simultaneously preparing secret traps for each other, words that you can't use. And further you get, the more trapwords you might expect. - BoardGameGeek.com
mason’s pick: exploding kittens
Exploding Kittens is a kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. Players take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game. The deck is made up of cards that let you avoid exploding by peeking at cards before you draw, forcing your opponent to draw multiple cards, or shuffling the deck.
The game gets more and more intense with each card you draw because fewer cards left in the deck means a greater chance of drawing the kitten and exploding in a fiery ball of feline hyperbole. - BoardGameGeek.com
hilary’s pick: HARRY POTTER HOGWARTS BATTLE: DEFENCE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS
Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle Defence Against the Dark Arts is a competitive deck-building game for two players, inspired by Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle. In this fast-paced game, players take turns playing cards, taking actions and acquiring new cards to build a more powerful deck as their defensive skills improve. Stun your opponent three times to win!
With the noticeable rise in Dark Arts activity, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore has authorized practical Defence Against the Dark Arts lessons to ensure that students are prepared to defend themselves. Under the supervision of Hogwart’s teachers, students will cast Spells and Hexes, use Items, and gain Allies to stun their opponents and protect themselves from evil forces. - BoardGameGeek.com
ADAM’s pick: boss monster
Inspired by a love of classic video games, Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game pits 2-4 players in a competition to build the ultimate side-scrolling dungeon. Players compete to lure and destroy hapless adventurers, racing to outbid one another to see who can build the most enticing, treasure-filled dungeon. The goal of Boss Monster is to be the first Boss to amass ten Souls, which are gained when a Hero is lured and defeated — but a player can lose if his Boss takes five Wounds from Heroes who survive his dungeon.
Playing Boss Monster requires you to juggle two competing priorities: the need to lure Heroes at a faster rate than your opponents, and the need to kill those Heroes before they reach your Boss. Players can build one room per turn, each with its own damage and treasure value. More attractive rooms tend to deal less damage, so a Boss who is too greedy can become inundated with deadly Heroes.
Players interact with each other by building rooms and playing Spells. Because different Heroes seek different treasure types, and rooms are built simultaneously (played face down, then revealed), this means that every "build phase" is a bidding war. Spells are instant-speed effects that can give players advantages or disrupt opponents.
As a standalone card game with 155 cards, Boss Monster contains everything that 2-4 players need to play. - BoardGameGeek.com
andy’s pick: BETRAYAL AT THE HOUSE ON THE HILL
Betrayal at House on the Hill quickly builds suspense and excitement as players explore a haunted mansion of their own design, encountering spirits and frightening omens that foretell their fate. With an estimated one hour playing time, Betrayal at House on the Hill is ideal for parties, family gatherings or casual fun with friends.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a tile game that allows players to build their own haunted house room by room, tile by tile, creating a new thrilling game board every time. The game is designed for three to six people, each of whom plays one of six possible characters.
Secretly, one of the characters betrays the rest of the party, and the innocent members of the party must defeat the traitor in their midst before it’s too late! Betrayal at House on the Hill will appeal to any game player who enjoys a fun, suspenseful, and strategic game.
Betrayal at House on the Hill includes detailed game pieces, including character cards, pre-painted plastic figures, and special tokens, all of which help create a spooky atmosphere and streamline game play.- BoardGameGeek.com
Sean’s pick: ELDRITCH HORROR
Across the globe, ancient evil is stirring. Now, you and your trusted circle of colleagues must travel around the world, working against all odds to hold back the approaching horror. Foul monsters, brutal encounters, and obscure mysteries will take you to your limit and beyond. All the while, you and your fellow investigators must unravel the otherworldy mysteries scattered around the globe in order to push back the gathering mayhem that threatens to overwhelm humanity. The end draws near! Do you have the courage to prevent global destruction?
Eldritch Horror is a cooperative game of terror and adventure in which one to eight players take the roles of globetrotting investigators working to solve mysteries, gather clues, and protect the world from an Ancient One – that is, an elder being intent on destroying our world. Each Ancient One comes with its own unique decks of Mystery and Research cards, which draw you deeper into the lore surrounding each loathsome creature. Discover the true name of Azathoth or battle Cthulhu on the high seas.
With twelve unique investigators, two hundred-fifty tokens, and over three hundred cards, Eldritch Horrorpresents an epic, world-spanning adventure with each and every game.- BoardGameGeek.com
PATRICK’s pick: ASCENSION
Ascension: Deckbuilding Game — originally released as Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer — is a fast-paced deck-building game designed by Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour champions Justin Gary, Rob Dougherty, and Brian Kibler, with artwork by Eric Sabee.
Ascension is a deck-building game in which players spend Runes to acquire more powerful cards for their deck. It offers a dynamic play experience where players have to react and adjust their strategy accordingly. Each player starts with a small deck of cards, and uses those cards to acquire more and better cards for their deck, with the goal of earning the most Honor Points by gaining cards and defeating monsters.- BoardGameGeek.com