Today I examine 4 great board / card games that are perfect for teens and adults: Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures, Monty Python Fluxx, Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game, and Citadels. Some of these games are more involved (as in complex) than others, so I’ll try to keep my explanations somewhat basic so as to not overwhelm anyone. Full rules are included with each game, so you’ll be able to get the complete picture if you decide to pick one up. The objective here is to give you some sense of the fun factor that each of these games provides. Read on to learn more!
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures
The first game we’re going to look at is Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures. This fun, though complex, game is all about that galaxy far, far away. So if you’re a Star Wars fan, this may be the game for you! Not a board game per se—there isn’t actually a board, but more of an imagination game with ship-to-ship combat between Rebel X-Wing & Imperial TIE fighters. It can be be played by 2-4 players for an expected duration of one hour (though this can vary greatly). You can choose to play either a very basic or a more advanced version of the game. There’s even the possibility of purchasing Expansion Packs to add more parts and complexity to the game, though there’s already no shortage of components (as you can see in the photo at right). It is recommended that you start with the more basic version of the game and move to the more advanced version when comfortable. As this game is very complex (even in its simplified version), I won’t attempt to explain all of the rules here.
Possibly the coolest aspect of this game are the 3 miniature starfighters that are included (2 TIE fighters and 1 X-Wing). These mini figures are super detailed and very accurate to their on screen counterparts. The basic premise of the game is for one player to represent the Rebels and one to represent the Empire (the basic version of the game is meant for 2 players). You play on a 2 foot X 2 foot empty space that represents “space” itself, and each player strategically plans and enacts specific attack scenarios to try and defeat his or her opponent. There are several red and blue eight sided dice (as well as 2 small decks of cards) that help to determine the success or failure of the missions. By adding in the official expansion pack sets or playing with 4 players, you can make the game almost as full as the actual Star Wars universe.
All up, this game is pretty fun to play—particularly if you’re a big Star Wars fan. But it does take some time to get the full sense of the game, and I didn’t have any of the Expansion Packs to try out. Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures kind of reminded me of Battleship, only way more advanced and complex than that. As much as I personally like it, I think it is best suited to those that love both Star Wars and games of moderate to high complexity.
Monty Python Fluxx
Probably my favourite game of the 4 I’m reviewing today is Monty Python Fluxx. This game, intended for anywhere from 2 to 6 players ages 9 and up, is great for those with an affinity for Monty Python—and particularly for Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). This is because there are so many Monty Python references throughout the game. It’s essentially the classic Fluxx game (introduced in 1996) set to a Monty Python theme. As such, the rules (and how one wins) are constantly changing throughout the game, according to what the cards dictate. This particular deck is the 100 card version, so not quite the original—better in fact. The unpredictability of it all is what truly makes it a blast, and the Monty Python theme is just an added bonus for fans of the classic comedy troop.
Several different types of cards make up a complete Fluxx deck, including Action cards, Creeper cards, Goal cards, New Rule cards, and Keeper cards. The Basic Rules card is the only constant in Fluxx, and it always remains face up and visible on the table so you never forget the game’s basic Draw 1, Play 1 flow (though this flow can, and does, change). Fluxx is also fast paced and straightforward (kind of), taking approximately 30 minutes to play a single game. Ultimately one must complete a specific goal to win, though this goal too can change at the whim of the cards. As an example, you may draw a goal card that says: “You win if you have King Arthur and Excalibur on the table in front of you.” If these cards are face up on the table in front of you, you win. But, just when you think you know your goal, you could draw a new Goal card and have your chances completely upended. You may well draw just about any different type of card at any time, so you never have any idea whats coming next. It’s highly unpredictable and highly fun!
Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game
Next up is a game inspired by the old Dungeon Crawler arcade game. It’s called Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game, and it’s meant for 2-4 players ages 13 and up. This one is purely a card game, and the objective is for each player, called a Boss Monster, to use the “room” cards to build a dungeon and then lure heroes in to their doom. By making your dungeon as deadly as possible, there’s a greater chance that you will kill the heroic intruders before they manage to wound you. One wins the game by collecting ten “souls” from the heroes. But you can lose the game as well by receiving five wounds from heroes who survive your dungeon. There are quite a few rules to this game, so it’s not as simple as it might sound. Even so, it’s got many fun elements like a ‘spells’ phase, an ‘adventure’ phase, and an initial ‘building your dungeon’ phase.
The length of time it takes to complete a game depends largely on the number of players involved. A simple 2 person game should last 20 to 30 minutes. Boss Monster is also made up of various card decks. There’s an 8 card Boss deck, a 75 card Room deck, a 31 card Spell deck, a 25 card Hero deck, and a 16 card Epic Hero deck, so you can see how things manage to get a bit complex. Still, if you fondly remember the old Dungeon Crawler video game, there may be some nostalgia in this one for you, so I do recommend it, but mostly just on the basis of nostalgia.
Citadels Card Game
The sleeper game in this review has got to be the Citadels Card Game, which I didn’t really expect to like at first, but ended up really loving. It’s very close to being my favourite game here, running neck-and-neck with Monty Python Fluxx. The objective of the game, which is basically a medieval city-building card game, is to construct the most impressive city possible. The game ends upon the completion of whichever round of play results in one of the players successfully building the eighth district of his or her city, but that player isn’t necessarily the winner. The winner is determined by calculating the city that’s worth the most points (different city components, such as specific buildings and architecture, have different point values). Filled with diplomacy, intrigue, and even the possibility of murder, Citadels is a fun and interesting game that’s intended for players ages 14 and up. There can be anywhere from 2 to 8 players involved, and the approximate playing time is 20 to 60 minutes, with more players leading to longer playing times.
There are also a number of interesting characters in the game, and each player’s role changes from round to round. You might draw the Magician’s card, for instance, and spend the round wielding all the power and ability that goes along with it. Other characters include the Thief, the Assassin, the Warlord, the Merchant, the Bishop, and the King, just to name a few. There’s even a whole catalog of bonus characters (9 of them) that each have special abilities & limitations. As you play the game, your purpose is to gather gold (those coins in the photo at left) and build the most valuable city possible while navigating the diplomatic tide of international politics in a time and place straight out of the middle ages. Citadels is actually a rather complex game with many more rules and subtleties than I can possibly cover here, but I really like it a lot. Highly recommended for those medieval loving types!
And so ends today’s review. I trust that at least one of the games discussed above appeals to your unique and individual tastes. If you should happen to be looking for a game or two with more kid appeal, see my review from earlier this week: Great Board Games for Children of All Ages: The Magic Labyrinth & The Enchanted Tower. Remember, card & board games represent a great way to regularly bring the family together for a brief period of fun and friendly competition. If you do decide to pick one of these up, I hope it serves this purpose. Good luck and happy gaming!