We went a little classical for our May crates, by including two games that most board-gamers will have heard of. Carcassonne and Ticket To Ride appeared on our system to be games some people didn’t have (okay, so we didn’t get that quite right).

It has to be mentioned how brilliant these two games are, with more awards between them than you could shake a shepherds train ticket at. Both have won the coveted Spiel des Jahres awards amongst many others.

Add into the mix the likes of Elysium and 7 Wonders plus the amazing HMS Dolores, A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King and the coveted Isle of Trains and you’ve got the May crate all sewn up!

Ticket To Ride

  • 2-5 players
  • 30-60 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.5

With elegantly simple gameplay, Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes, while providing players with intense strategic and tactical decisions every turn. Players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous route.

“The rules are simple enough to write on a train ticket – each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets,” says Ticket to Ride author, Alan R. Moon. “The tension comes from being forced to balance greed – adding more cards to your hand, and fear – losing a critical route to a competitor.”

7 Wonders

  • 2-7 players
  • 30 minutes
  • 10+
  • 7.8

You are the leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World. Gather resources, develop commercial routes, and affirm your military supremacy. Build your city and erect an architectural wonder which will transcend future times.

7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. (Players have individual boards with special powers on which to organise their cards, and the boards are double-sided). Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends.

Carcassonne

  • 2-5 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 8+
  • 7.4

Carcassonne is a tile-placement game in which the players draw and place a tile with a piece of southern French landscape on it. The tile might feature a city, a road, a cloister, grassland or some combination thereof, and it must be placed adjacent to tiles that have already been played, in such a way that cities are connected to cities, roads to roads, etcetera. Having placed a tile, the player can then decide to place one of his meeples on one of the areas on it: on the city as a knight, on the road as a robber, on a cloister as a monk, or on the grass as a farmer. When that area is complete, that meeple scores points for its owner.

During a game of Carcassonne, players are faced with decisions like: “Is it really worth putting my last meeple there?” or “Should I use this tile to expand my city, or should I place it near my opponent instead, giving him a hard time to complete his project and score points?” Since players place only one tile and have the option to place one meeple on it, turns proceed quickly even if it is a game full of options and possibilities.

Elysium

  • 2-4 players
  • 60 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7.4

Mythic Greece. As an upstart demigod, you want to earn the favor of the Olympians and become a figure of legend yourself. Gather heroes and powerful artifacts, please the gods and bear their power to write your own epic tale.

Let your allies achieve their destiny and enter the Elysium, home of the glorious and the brave. Once the stories are written, only one demigod will be chosen to stand at the side of Zeus.

Elysium is a game of set collecting and combinations in which players recruit cards representing heroes, items, powers and gods. These cards have many different powers and you can create powerful combination to earn gold (the help of the gods) and victory points (the favour of the gods). Each card belongs to one of the eight Olympians gods (a family), and shows a level (1 to 3).

During the five turns of the game, players will try to transfer their cards to the Elysium and write their own Legends, which are series of cards from the same family or from different families of the same level. The more epic the Legends, the more favor from the gods they’ll earn. But as they go to Elysium, most cards lose their power and players will therefore have to renounce some of their combinations !

A game of balance and opportunity with simple action, but constant dilemmas and complex strategies.

A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King

  • 2-4 players
  • 15-30 minutes
  • 14+
  • 7.0

The king has called for a lavish feast and tourney, the likes of which have not been seen in the Seven Kingdoms since the days of Aegon the Conquerer. What’s more, the king has declared that at this feast, he will choose his new Hand — and you have a chance of rising to this lofty position. Of course, you’re not the only one with eyes set on becoming the power behind the Iron Throne. In A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King, you need to scheme and backstab to outwit your opponents, and you need the help of Varys, the Master of Whispers, to do it.

Hand of the King is a fast-paced card game of conspiracies and sudden twists of fate for two to four players, challenging each of you to gain the most support among the twisted intrigues of the King’s Landing court. Each turn, you send Varys to do your bidding, moving through the court and inciting iconic characters from A Song of Ice and Fire to support your cause. With the help of some companions and crafty alliances with other players, you just might rise to become the king’s new Hand!

HMS Dolores

  • 2-4 players
  • 10-20 minutes
  • 10+
  • 6.4

Eric M. Lang and Bruno Faidutti have joined forces to create the ultimate prisoner’s dilemma game. Do you cooperate and risk getting outsmarted by a greedy player? Or do you compete and risk losing everything?

You are pirates who just looted a ship and must negotiate how to split the treasure. There are seven types of loot with values from 1 to 3. At the end of the game, you only score the treasure types you have the most and least of.

On each turn, open four new treasures: two in front of you and two in front of your neighbour. Simultaneously decide how to split them. Choices:

  • Peace (I want the 2 in front of me)
  • War (I want them all)
  • First pick (I want just one, pick first)

If both players choose peace, split the loot evenly. If both choose war, lose all treasure. If both choose first pick, lose all treasure and one of your gained treasure columns.

The game continues until the Dawn Card is drawn. 15 minutes!

Isle of Trains

  • 2-4 players
  • 45 minutes
  • 13+
  • 6.9

In Isle of Trains, players are train operators, building trains with the right mix of freight cars needed to complete delivery contracts before your opponents.

Cards are used in multiple ways: they can be built as train cars or buildings supporting your train line, used as currency to pay the cost of building those new train cars and buildings, or used as cargo to load on available train cars.

When loading cargo on an opponent’s train, players receive an immediate benefit or action, but they are also giving their opponent the cargo they just might need to be able to complete a delivery contract and score big!

Balancing the need to upgrade your train, take advantage of benefits from loading other players’ trains, and complete delivery contracts first is the key to being the most successful train operator on the Isle of Trains!

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