December 2016 was our third crate since we started and it was by far the trickiest to complete – mostly because it was Christmas and we hadn’t quite taken into account how quickly supplies of some games would go!

Subscribers to the October Crate will remember the themed meeples – the witch, the ghoul and the vampire. We tried so hard to get themed meeples for the December crate but the manufacturer decided to not make any this year and stocks from last year had all but gone so we went back to the dice from the November crate.

This month’s crate included some absolutely great games including the legendary Power Grid and the highly awarded Codenames and 6 Nimmt! as well as many other top rated games. There was also a huge amount of variety too with other games like Puerto Rico, Race for the Galaxy, Spyfall, Dreamwell, Welcome to the Dungeon and Grifters – it was a very eclectic month!

We tried to mix up the combinations with everyone getting two of the listed games, ensuring that each and every crate was still great value for money!

Power Grid

  • 2-6 players
  • 120 minutes
  • 12+
  • 8.0

Power Grid is the updated release of the Friedemann Friese crayon game Funkenschlag. It removes the crayon aspect from network building in the original edition, while retaining the fluctuating commodities market like Crude: The Oil Game and an auction round intensity reminiscent of The Princes of Florence.

The objective of Power Grid is to supply the most cities with power when someone’s network gains a predetermined size. In this new edition, players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants that they use to power their cities.

However, as plants are purchased, newer, more efficient plants become available, so by merely purchasing, you’re potentially allowing others access to superior equipment.

Welcome to the Dungeon

  • 2-4 players
  • 30 minutes
  • 10+
  • 6.8

Welcome to the Dungeon — first released as Dungeon of Mandom — is a push-your-luck dungeon delve in which 2-4 players take turns essentially daring each other to go into a dungeon with less equipment than they start off with while filling the dungeon with monsters. Players can win the game by winning 2 rounds or get eliminated from the game by losing 2 rounds. Each player has a 2-sided players card that has a white side and a red side. The first win taps the player card and the 1st loss flips the card over to the red side. A 2nd loss will have the player turn the card back into the box.

Race for the Galaxy

  • 2-4 players
  • 30-60 minutes
  • 12+
  • 7.8

In the card game Race for the Galaxy, players build galactic civilizations by playing game cards in front of them that represent worlds or technical and social developments. Some worlds allow players to produce goods, which can be consumed later to gain either card draws or victory points when the appropriate technologies are available to them. These are mainly provided by the developments and worlds that are not able to produce, but the fancier production worlds also give these bonuses.

At the beginning of each round, players each select, secretly and simultaneously, one of the seven roles which correspond to the phases in which the round progresses. By selecting a role, players activate that phase for this round, giving each player the opportunity to perform that phase’s action. For example, if one player chooses the settle role, each player has the opportunity to settle one of the planets from their hand. The player who has chosen the role, however, gets a bonus that applies only to them. But bonuses may also be acquired through developments, so you must be aware when another player also takes advantage of your choice of role.

Codenames

  • 2-8 players
  • 15 minutes
  • 10+
  • 8.0

Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES.

In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.

Codenames: Win or lose, it’s fun to figure out the clues.

Spyfall

  • 3-8 players
  • 15 minutes
  • 12+
  • 7.3

Spyfall is a party game unlike any other, one in which you get to be a spy and try to understand what’s going on around you. It’s really simple!

Spyfall is played over several rounds, and at the start of each round all players receive cards showing the same location — a casino, a travelling circus, a pirate ship, or even a space station — except that one player receives a card that says “Spy” instead of the location. Players then start asking each other questions — “Why are you dressed so strangely?” or “When was the last time we got a payday?” or anything else you can come up with — trying to guess who among them is the spy. The spy doesn’t know where he is, so he has to listen carefully. When it’s his time to answer, he’d better create a good story!

Puerto Rico

  • 2-5 players
  • 90-150 minutes
  • 12+
  • 8.1

In Puerto Rico players assume the roles of colonial governors on the island of Puerto Rico. The aim of the game is to amass victory points by shipping goods to Europe or by constructing buildings.

Each player uses a separate small board with spaces for city buildings, plantations, and resources. Shared between the players are three ships, a trading house, and a supply of resources and doubloons.

The resource cycle of the game is that players grow crops which they exchange for points or doubloons. Doubloons can then be used to buy buildings, which allow players to produce more crops or give them other abilities. Buildings and plantations do not work unless they are manned by colonists.

6 Nimmt!

  • 2-10 players
  • 45 minutes
  • 8+
  • 6.9

In 6 nimmt!, a.k.a. Category 5 and many other names, you want to score as few points as possible.

To play the game, you shuffle the 104 number cards, lay out four cards face-up to start the four rows, then deal ten cards to each player. Each turn, players simultaneously choose and reveal a card from their hand, then add the cards to the rows, with cards being placed in ascending order based on their number; specifically, each card is placed in the row that ends with the highest number that’s below the card’s number. When the sixth card is placed in a row, the owner of that card claims the other five cards and the sixth card becomes the first card in a new row.

Grifters

  • 2-4 players
  • 30 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7.1

Grifters is a hand-building game that has all the fun of deck-building games, without the deck. Set in the Dystopian Universe, players take on the role of powerful crime bosses, building their criminal organisations by carefully recruiting new operatives with specialised skills and directing their team’s nefarious deeds. All of your specialists are either in play or in your hand, ready to be used as you command. This unique hand-building mechanism gives you total control of your strategy.

Candy Chaser

  • 2-4 players
  • 10 minutes
  • 10+
  • 6.1

Candy Chaser is a bluffing game in which the players are smuggling illegal candy. Rolling the die, you want to elevate the price of your candy in order to win, but if the others find out what you’re smuggling, you’re arrested.

The game ends when one candy reaches the top price, at which point every one gets to accuse one other player for what they smuggle. Arrested players are out of the game. The winner is the remaining player with the highest priced candy.

Dreamwell

  • 2-4 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 13+
  • 7.0

Dreamwell is a 2-4 player competitive game featuring the art of Tara McPherson where players are trying to locate their lost friends in the Dreamwell. The Dreamwell is represented by a 4 x 4 grid of tiles. Each tile shows an environment and a creature, in addition to pathways to neighbouring tiles. At the beginning of the game, players will be dealt two cards, each of which shows a picture of the friend whom he or she is trying to locate along with the two creatures and environment that will be required to find that particular friend.

On your turn, you will be able to take three actions from the following list: move one of your pawns, rotate a tile, draw a card, replace the display, or locate one of your missing friends by playing a card. Only by carefully navigating the maze-like Dreamwell can you locate your friends and win the game.

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