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First Take Friday – Wizard (Fantasy Wizard), Three Sisters, When I Dream, The Kids of Catan

In First Take Fridays we offer hot takes on games that are new to us. This week we have Wizard (Fantasy Wizard), Three Sisters, When I Dream, and The Kids of Catan

Wizard (Fantasy Wizard) – Tom Franklin

A trick-taking card game played in ten rounds where you are dealt the number of cards equal to the round you’re playing. (In round one, you’re dealt one card; in round five, you’re dealt five cards) You start by bidding on how many tricks you’re going to take that round. Guess right and you score big points; guess wrong and you’ll lose points for every trick over/under your guess. There are different trump suits each round, as well as Jesters that score nothing and Wizards which are super-trumps.

A fun game with the right people, but the artwork in the edition I played was awful. Suits/colors were difficult to make out, especially from across the table.

Ease of entry?:
★★★★☆ – The odd bump or two
Would I play it again?:
★★☆☆☆ – Would play again but would rather play something else

Read more articles by Tom Franklin.

Three Sisters – Bob Pazehoski, Jr.

A bit of corn, a few beans, and some pumpkin squash. Who would believe a foray into backyard gardening techniques could be so engaging? Three Sisters mimics the practice of growing these three crops together and adds bees, fruits, perennials, and a flashy tool shed to create a world for any green thumb to enjoy. Players take turns drafting the beautiful—and I mean beautiful—dice from a nifty rondel and then share one community die before enacting the round’s big event. Eight rounds of lucrative combo play later, scores are tallied for a winner. Motor City Gameworks and 25th Century put together a lovely strategy game here. The action selection mechanisms are delightful and, despite the open-ended possibilities, there’s just enough writing to keep the combos from getting too confusing in my head. I can’t wait to get Three Sisters to the table again.

Check out Andy Matthews‘s review of Three Sisters.

Ease of entry?:
★★★★☆ – The odd bump or two
Would I play it again?:
★★★★★ – Will definitely play it again

Read more articles from Bob Pazehoski, Jr.

When I Dream – Justin Bell

Uh-oh…a sleep mask?

Yes, one of the components from the 2016 release When I Dream is an actual sleep mask. In the game, each player at the table will take on the role of The Dreamer once, as they attempt to guess the Element (keyword) others are hinting at with clues being hurled at you over the course of a two-minute round.

The twist? Some players are Fairies, trying to give you valid clues for the current Element, while others are Boogeymen, intentionally trying to foul up your attempt at guessing Elements correctly. Other players serve as the Sandmen; Sandmen only care about seeing the Dreamer end up with an equal number of correct and incorrect guesses.

Hilarity ensued. If I can find a copy, I’ll be adding this to my Bell Family Vacation plans soon.

Ease of entry?:
★★★★★ – No sweat
Would I play it again?:
★★★★★ – Will definitely play it again

Read more articles from Justin Bell.

The Kids of Catan – David McMillan

1995’s The Settlers of Catan set the world on fire and there is no denying the impact that the game’s release has had on modern gaming. In 2003, Klaus Teuber reimagined Catan for a much younger audience and The Kids of Catan was the result. And, let me tell you, it’s probably the most adorable game I have ever played.

The game is played on a lazy susan-eque disc that has several slots cut into it to hold the chunky wooden buildings and meeples in place. Along the outer rim of the spinning disc are arranged an assortment of resources (clay, wheat, and wood) and the Erik meeple—he’s a total jerk and likes to steal from little kids. On a player’s turn, they roll the chunky die and then turn the disc a number of spaces equal to the number on the die. If a player’s meeple winds up standing next to a resource that they don’t already have, they get to add it to their wagon. If they wind up next to Erik, they have to discard a resource. During setup, each player will have selected a number of the wooden buildings to keep in their supply. If their wagon ever fills up, they can discard the resources—returning them to their positions around the edge of the disc— and add one of their buildings to the little township that begins building up in the middle of the disc. Build all four of their buildings and then top that off with the City Hall and they win the game. Easy peasy!

My son loved it. I loved it. My wife loved it. There were smiles all around. I’d had concerns that there might have been one or two elements too many for my four year old, but he picked up on the mechanics right away. Before we knew it, he was rolling the die, moving the platter, and adding/removing resources and buildings without our help. And while he grasped that, there were some finer strategic decisions he struggled with—where to place discarded resources, for instance. Overall, though, we had a lot of fun and it was a real pleasure watching our little wooden city take shape.

Keep an eye out for my upcoming review of this charming game.

Ease of entry?:
★★★★★ – No sweat
Would I play it again?:
★★★★★ – Will definitely play it again

Read more articles from David McMillan.

 

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About the author

Tom Franklin

By day, I'm a mild-mannered IT Manager with a slight attitude. By night I play guitar & celtic bouzouki, board games, and watch British TV. I love abstracts, co-ops, worker placement and tile-laying games. Basically, any deep game with lots of interesting choices. 

You can find my middle grade book, The Pterrible Pteranodon, at your favorite online bookstore.

And despite being a DM, I have an inherent dislike of six-sided dice.

About the author

Bob Pazehoski, Jr.

On any given day, I am a husband and father of five. I read obsessively and, occasionally, I write stories of varying length, quality, and metrical structure. As often as possible, I enjoy sitting down to the table for a game with friends and family. I'm happy to trumpet Everdell, in all its charm and glory, as the insurmountable favorite of my collection.

About the author

Justin Bell

Gamer / husband / dad / DEI champion / foodie / hoop head / cinephile / travel enthusiast. If you're in Chicago, let's meet up and roll some dice! @justinbellsays

About the author

David McMillan

IT support specialist by day, Minecrafter by night; I always find time for board gaming. When it comes to games, I prefer the heavier euro-game fare. Uwe Rosenberg is my personal hero with Stefan Feld coming in as a close second.

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