Friday, January 7, 2011

CSN Review

I'm far behind on my review of a couple of games I received last month from CSN Stores, so I thought I'd tell you about them now.

The first game is called Exago.  I chose this game because it seemed similar to one of my favorite games called Blokus, but actually, it's really not very similar.

(stock photo)

According to their website, Exago takes an easy concept of getting four tiles in a row and turn it into one of the best family games ever conceived. Each player is given 6 tiles of their color and players take turns putting them on the board. The goal is to get 4 in a row without your competitors blocking you, which seems simple enough. However, the need for strategy for great tile placement become extremely obvious quickly. You have to plan each move anticipating what your competitors will do."

What we found in actual play is that with just two players, the game moves too quickly and is actually quite boring.  With three players, the game becomes more interesting and with each additional player, it becomes more exciting.

I'd recommend this game only if you have several family members or friends who will play it with you.  This is definitely a case of "the more, the merrier".


The second game I'd like to tell you about is called Carcassonne.  This is a game that came highly recommended by Kat's former day care provider, although it's not a game that young children are likely to enjoy.

(Image from Wikipedia)

The game is named for the walled French city of Carcassonne and the object is to develop the area around it by placing tiles in a way that extends the geographical features.  For example, road tiles must connect to other road tiles and city tiles must connect to other city tiles.  This in itself ensures that the game plays differently each session.  Whether or not the player placing the tile also places a "follower" (wooden figure) on it affects the scoring of the game, further guaranteeing that each games is unique.  With a limited number of followers per player, knowing when to place one and when to wait becomes as much a guessing game as a strategy.

While scoring rules are complex, they are what sets this game apart from others.  The basic game moves quickly and can be played in about 45 minutes.  Several expansion kits are available, and with those (and plenty of floor or table space), a game can last much longer and the layout possibilities are virtually endless.  While some strategy is involved, this is largely a game based on "the luck of the draw".

Unfortunately, Kat wasn't very interested in this game at this time and Shane and I haven't had time to play more than a couple of times.  We're looking forward to getting a small group together to explore the game more.  While I don't think we'll ever become well-seasoned players (some engage in tournament play), I can see us buying an extension set or two in the future.

I recommend this game to anyone who is interested in board gaming as a hobby or who is interested in feudal-style games -- or to anyone who is simply curious what a game like this might be like.


As for the customer service I received from CSN Stores, as always, the ordering process went very smoothly and the items arrived quickly.  As usual, I received nothing but great service from CSN Stores.

Disclaimer:  I was offered a gift certificate from CSN Stores in return for this review.  To review games was my choice and the opinions I have expressed are strictly my own.


Frances said...

Great, honest reviews on both. Thanks!

Annie Jones said...

I hope the reviews are helpful. I really was expecting more from the Exago game. I think Carcassonne would be a lot of fun with the right group of people.

Jill said...

Great review! I don't know much about this store but I've seen it a few times on other people's blogs. :-) Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

I think the first game sounds idea for teaching children to think strategicly - I have one son who just does not think cause and effect so each would definitely help develop that skill!

Thanks for the reviews!