Party games are wildly popular in the board game hobby, because they play a larger number of people than your standard four-player game, are easy to learn and quick to play, and are friendly for gamers and non-gamers alike. It’s a big reason that Codenames was a smash hit and won game of the year. Mayday Games recently published what I would consider a party game or filler game called Macroscope. It plays 2-6 people (but I think could play more if you had teams) age 6+. It takes about 30 minutes to play and retails for $30.
Mayday Games tries to put out family-friendly games that are easy on the budget and large on the fun meter. Sometimes they succeed and other times they miss the mark. Macroscope succeeds and hits the ball out of the park. The game plays quickly, is easy to teach, and is just a fun little party puzzle. I particularly liked building the macroscope from cardboard, and it was a nice little element that makes a statement on the table. They could have easily just given us a sheet of paper with holes in it to cover the cards, but they didn’t.
Having played this game several times, I haven’t made it through half of the large deck of cards. Thankfully they are double-sided so when they run out, I can just flip them over and get a new deck to play with. Like most people though, I am hoping that there will be expansion packs that are just more of these cards. The best part of this game is that I can play it with anybody. From people who game to people who don’t, young children to older adults, each one has found this game to be a fun little filler. I highly recommend picking up a copy and use this as a light game to introduce people to the modern world of board games.
Somewhere in the middle of the ocean is a small isle that has long been forgotten by most. On this mysterious land, there are monsters with the power of earth, fire, and water. The locals of this island have learned to feed and train these creatures to keep outsiders away and be the Protector of the Island. This is Isle of Monsters. Isle of Monsters is a game for 2-5 players, ages 10+. It takes between 20 and 45 minutes to play and retails for $30.
Isle of Monsters is a cute and clever game that is perfect for children and families. The choices you make are simple but meaningful. Which of the two creature cards will I pick? Will I pass on taking a creature in favor of feeding a creature I already have? Do I remember what types of creatures my opponents had this round, and can I play the correct type of creature that will defeat theirs? There is a little bit of randomness to the game, because you will only have access to two different decks of creatures and this might give you powerful enough creatures to capture the scare the crowd bonus. Also, you never know what type of food will come out and be available to you on the outer islands. Knowing this, it is important to see what type of food the player after you needs, so you can take it before them and prevent their creatures from maturing.
The thing I like most about this game is the artwork. It is very colorful. Each of the creatures has a number on them ranging from 1 to 9. The 1 creature is a tiny little baby monster. As you increase in numbers, you see different stages of growth of that same creature with the level 9 creature being a fully grown and “terrifying” monster. The game has a bit of a Pokémon feel to it with the collecting of creatures, feeding of creatures, and different artwork kind of like evolution of Pokémon. At least with this game, you have everything you need in the box and don’t have to go out and hunt down hundreds of different cards. With eye-catching art, simple mechanics, a fast playing time, and the ability to play five, this is a family game I would strongly recommend.
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Copyright 2017 Stuart Dunn