Our November crate was crammed full of wonder, bamboo and er… an abyss. It’s all elementary really!

Okay, so we managed four game titles in a sentence! But what a month! 7 Wonders speaks for itself really as a really wonder-ful game with more awards that you can shake a stick at! Add in Abys, Takenoko, Watson and Holmes,  Warhammer Quest, plus all the other games that made up the November crate, and it’s a truly wonderful selection!

[bartag name=”7 Wonders” image=”3337″ background=”3336″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/68448″ players=”2-7″ playtime=”30 minutes” age=”10+” average=”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.

In essence, 7 Wonders is a card development game. Some cards have immediate effects, while others provide bonuses or upgrades later in the game. Some cards provide discounts on future purchases. Some provide military strength to overpower your neighbours and others give nothing but victory points. Each card is played immediately after being drafted, so you’ll know which cards your neighbour is receiving and how his choices might affect what you’ve already built up. Cards are passed left-right-left over the three ages, so you need to keep an eye on the neighbours in both directions.[/bartag][bartag name=”Abyss” image=”3764″ background=”3763″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/155987″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”30-60 minutes” age=”14+” average=”7.3″]The Abyss power is once again vacant, so the time has come to get your hands on the throne and its privileges. Use all of your cunning to win or buy votes in the Council. Recruit the most influential Lords and abuse their powers to take control of the most strategic territories. Finally, impose yourself as the only one able to rule the Abyssal people!

Abyss is a game of development, combination and collection in which players try to take control of strategic locations in an underwater city. To achieve this, players must develop on three levels: first by collecting allies, then using them to recruit Lords of the Abyss, who will then grant access to different parts of the city. Players acquire cards through a draft of sorts, and the Lords of the Abyss acquired on those cards grant special powers to the cardholder — but once you use the cards to acquire a location, that power is shut off, so players need to time their land grabs well in order to put themselves in the best position for when the game ends.[/bartag]

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[bartag name=”Takenoko” image=”5236″ background=”5235″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/70919″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”45 minutes” age=”8+” average=”7.3″]A long time ago at the Japanese Imperial court, the Chinese Emperor offered a giant panda bear as a symbol of peace to the Japanese Emperor. Since then, the Japanese Emperor has entrusted his court members (the players) with the difficult task of caring for the animal by tending to his bamboo garden.

In Takenoko, the players will cultivate land plots, irrigate them, and grow one of the three species of bamboo (Green, Yellow, and Pink) with the help of the Imperial gardener to maintain this bamboo garden. They will have to bear with the immoderate hunger of this sacred animal for the juicy and tender bamboo. The player who manages his land plots best, growing the most bamboo while feeding the delicate appetite of the panda, will win the game.[/bartag][bartag name=”Watson & Holmes” image=”5238″ background=”5237″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/182694″ players=”2-7″ playtime=”45-75 minutes” age=”12+” average=”7.5″]Watson & Holmes is a game of deduction set within the magnificent works of Arthur Conan Doyle. Two to seven aspiring detectives step into the shoes of Doctor Watson, working alongside the detective Sherlock Holmes to try to solve a series of so far unpublished cases directly extracted from Doctor John H. Watson’s diaries. Those who accept the challenge relive the adventures of the crime-solving duo, visiting each of the locations where the inquiries were made. Following the trail, each clue brings players closer to solving the case.[/bartag][bartag name=”Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game” image=”3797″ background=”3796″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/181521″ players=”1-4″ playtime=”30-60 minutes” age=”14+” average=”7.5″]Join forces with legendary heroes to brave the many dangers of a cavernous dungeon. Wield potent weapons and magic. Conquer hordes of vile monsters. Discover fabulous treasures.

Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game is a cooperative game of heroic dungeon adventures for one to four players. Players assume the roles of some of the Old World’s most iconic heroes, then venture into the shadows to battle ghouls, Goblins, Skaven, giant bats, swarms of rats, and other monsters.

Can you survive their relentless onslaught? Can you press deeper into their lair to find the evil villain that drives them forward? There are only two ways for your quest to end – in death or in glory![/bartag][bartag name=”Fairytale Gloom” image=”5240″ background=”5239″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/172062″ players=”2-5″ playtime=”30-60 minutes” age=”13+” average=”6.6″]In the Gloom card game, you assume control of the fate of an eccentric family of misfits and misanthropes. The goal of the game is sad, but simple: You want your characters to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death.

Fairytale Gloom spreads that misery and suffering to the beloved, classic stories of your youth, like a magical, flying godmother ready to perturb you with peas, foil you with fairies, and surprise you with spiders.[/bartag][bartag name=”Zany Penguins” image=”4460″ background=”4459″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/190639″ players=”2-5″ playtime=”20 minutes” age=”7+” average=”6.8″]In Zany Penguins, you want to make sure that your tribe of penguins is the one that takes control of the Earth, so do what you can to take charge of regions such as the desert, jungle, and the North Pole.

In game terms, each region has a set of cards numbered 1-9. To set up, shuffle the deck, then deal each player a personal deck of 18 cards. Each player starts with two cards in hand.

On a turn, you draw two cards, pass one card each to your left- and right-hand neighbours, take the cards passed to you, then simultaneously play and reveal one card in front of you on the table. If you play a 1, on your next turn you play and reveal two cards instead of one; if you play a 2, it blows up all 6-9 cards played that same turn; and if you play a 3, on the subsequent turn everyone else plays before you do.[/bartag][bartag name=”Isle of Trains” image=”3333″ background=”3332″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/154906″ players=”2-4″ playtime=”45 minutes” age=”13+” average=”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.

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![/bartag][bartag name=”Eminent Domain: Microcosm” image=”5242″ background=”5241″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/163640″ players=”2″ playtime=”15 minutes” age=”13+” average=”6.6″]Eminent Domain: Microcosm is a quick-playing two-player card game which brings you all the thrill of building a space empire in just 15-20 minutes. Each turn you take a card into your hand from the supply, then you either play a card and carry out its instructions, or pick up your discard pile to refill your hand. Each card also has a scoring condition on it, and to win you’ll want to maximize those conditions.

As in the grandfather game Eminent Domain, actions you take can be "boosted" by revealing other cards sharing the same icon. Colonize and attack planets, do research, and take advantage of politics to score the most influence by the end of the game![/bartag][bartag name=”Skull” image=”5244″ background=”5243″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/92415″ players=”3-6″ playtime=”45 minutes” age=”14+” average=”7.1″]Skull & Roses is the quintessence of bluffing, a game in which everything is played in the players’ heads. Each player plays a face-down card, then each player, in turn, adds one more card – until someone feels safe enough to state that he can turn a number of cards face up and get only roses. Other players can then overbid him, saying they can turn even more cards face up. The highest bidder must then turn that number of cards face up, starting with his own. If he shows only roses, he wins; if he reveals a skull, he loses, placing one of his cards out of play. Two successful challenges wins the game. Skull & Roses is not a game of luck; it’s a game of poker face and meeting eyes.[/bartag][bartag name=”Quests of Valeria” image=”5246″ background=”5245″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/187680″ players=”1-5″ playtime=”20-45 minutes” age=”14+” average=”7.1″]In Quests of Valeria you play the role of a Guild Master, recruiting and dispatching Citizens to complete quests posted in a tavern in the Capital City of Valeria to earn Victory Points. The player with the most Victory Points at the end of the game wins.

Quests of Valeria is a unique set collection game where players gather Citizens to fill requirements on a Quest. Hire Citizens from the line in the Tavern that provide you with additional actions to build combo’s of free actions![/bartag][bartag name=”Ninja Taisen” image=”4856″ background=”4855″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/162041″ players=”2″ playtime=”20 minutes” age=”8+” average=”6.7″]Ninja Taisen is a two-player, dice-driven open information abstract game with a random set-up. Both players have identical sets of ten fighters, with three fighters in each of three colours with values 1-3 along with a tri-coloured boss valued at 4; these fighters are placed in small stacks of varying size onto a line that’s eleven steps long. On a player’s turn, he rolls the three coloured dice and can make up to three moves accordingly, with the blue die moving a blue fighter, etc. Moving a fighter that has other fighters on top of him moves these other fighters as well.[/bartag][bartag name=”Castles of Caladale” image=”5248″ background=”5247″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/213370″ players=”1-4″ playtime=”30 minutes” age=”8+” average=”6.8″]In a forgotten time when magic could move mountains, the Kingdom of Caladale was home to people of all kinds, living in castles of unimaginable beauty — but on one fateful night, an ancient spell of great power was cast by one unable to control it. By daybreak all of the castles were destroyed, their walls and towers were torn apart, twisted together and scattered across the land.

The people of Caladale must now rebuild, competing for walls and towers from the broken and twisted remains of each other’s homes to rebuild their castles and reclaim the glory of Caladale![/bartag][bartag name=”Sundae Split” image=”5250″ background=”5249″ bgg_url=”https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/233974″ players=”2-5″ playtime=”20 minutes” age=”10+” average=”7.2″]In Sundae Split, players try to build the best ice cream sundae from the ingredients at hand. Get just the right mix of toppings and flavours, but avoid the vegetables! At the end, each sundae is scored and the player who made the best sundae wins the game.

In more detail, one player splits ingredients into piles, and the other players take turns choosing one. As the splitter, you get the last pile. You have to be clever and a little sneaky to get the ingredients you want. Collect the best mix of toppings and flavours to make the most valuable ice cream sundae and win the game![/bartag]

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