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1864 Poker Deck
1864 Poker Deck

WHAT CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING ABOUT 1864 POKER DECK

This is a real sturdy and attractive deck for professional readings. The card stock is nice and thick; these are not fragile cards. Fortunately, for they are very handsome! Historical decks have a special place in my world, and I recommend this deck highly for its appeal both visually, historically, and its versatility.

What I find especially appealing visually are the gold foil outlines on all the cards; each pip and court card has a striking amount of bling. Card corners are not rounded. Notice that the cards do not bear indices in the corners: there is no '6' on the six of clubs, no 'A' on the Ace, etc. While for certain styles of gaming that may prove inconvenient, I find that it does not encumber most types of games that I play, and for divination it poses no problem whatsoever. Additionally, the court cards feature full-bodied people rather than the standard mirror-image, two-headed figures in modern playing cards.

Since I use the same cards for gaming as divination, I find these cards to be off my shelf repeatedly for either a game or a reading.

—John Alan Cartomancy


I just received the cards, and I am very impressed with the quality of the reproduction of the artwork, as well as the stock and finish. It mimics the card stock that was used in the historical deck as well as the artwork.

Also, the information card is very informative, and adds to the card's overall appeal. This deck is just all around a great replica deck.

—Steve M., Amazon customer

$6.00
Royalty® Word Game
Royalty® Word Game

What word game lovers are saying about Royalty

My wife and I played Royalty for many years. We have tried many other word games especially an all time favorite Scrabble. Royalty provides a very good alternative to Scrabble. Game play Royalty presents complexities and therefore challenges that Scrabble does not have.

In Royalty a player can either play a word from his hand, capture an opponent’s word by adding cards to form a completely different word, or do both on any one turn. Like Scrabble a player can choose to return cards to the remaining deck. However in Royalty a player must return his entire hand and receive 7 new cards.

Royalty is an excellent test of vocabulary and mental agility. You will thoroughly enjoy this game.

—Phillip E. Clark, “Royalty Fanatic”


Royalty is essentially a form of Scrabble but played with cards. I like it because it can be played more casually than Scrabble, but it can also be played in a very competitive manner. My wife and I play it regularly, for fun, without keeping score. Play it for fun, as I do, or for keeps. It is easy enough for fun and complex enough for real competition. A first rate card game.

—Joel Barnett, Amazon customer


If you like Scrabble, but find it a bit slow-paced, try Royalty. It's a fast-paced and portable word game played with a charmingly vintage-looking double pack of cards. You take turns buiding your own words (from the seven cards in your hand) and stealing those of other players. The basic rules are simple, but it's easy to come up with creative variations to make the game longer, or more challenging. The compact size makes it perfect for breaking up the boredom of plane travel This reasonably priced game's been around for a long time, but strangely isn't nearly as popular as it deserves to be.

Armelle Martin, “Wordsmith”


Royalty is a challenging and creative word game. Faster than Scrabble and you can carry it anywhere. A game lasts an average of 20 minutes. An added feature allows players to capture opponents’ words. Easy to learn, fun to play. If you like word games, this is the one for you!

—Natalie Miller, Amazon customer


I have loved Royalty since a friend introduced me to it 15 years ago. Now, I buy sets in bulk as a wonderful, inexpensive gift for hosts, friends and family. It is great for travelling because it is so compact and I have played many games in airports and hotels. Our entire family plays now instead of Scrabble and Boggle and play each time we get together.

“Doggielover Deets”, Amazon customer


My family and friends and I have been avid Royalty fans for over 15 years now. It is similar to Scrabble, but adds the fun of rearranging letters on the table to make new words. It's sort of a cross between Scrabble and Rumikub, two of my favorite games.

The setup is that you draw 7 cards. Each turn you have you can make one word using the letters in your hand and you can "steal" one word from the table by adding letters from your hand to it and rearranging if necessary. Game play is fun with two players, but gets more exciting with more players as there are so many options of words to rearrange and steal. For instance, someone might play "EEL". The next player (in addition to making a word from within their hand) might steal that word and play "LEER" by adding an R. The next player could then add an A, E and S to make RELEASE, and so on. You get double points for having all your letters in one color or using your entire hand. It's a great travel game and makes a wonderful gift for any Scrabble lover.

—“Cricket”, Amazon customer


I have played Royalty for over 40 years. It is by far my favorite word game, a mixture of Scrabble and Anagrams with cards. This game challenges your mind and is so much fun to play. Best word-game ever!

—R. Watson, Amazon customer


I played this with friends over New Year's, and we nearly missed the fireworks at midnight because we were so engrossed in this game. It's a little slower paced than Scrabble in terms of turn length, but the anagram fun is doubled because you can use not only the cards in your hand on your turn, but rearrange any word on the board as well. One of the more strategic of the word games I've played, Royalty challenged the word-lover in me and introduced a level of competition to create the most elegant word beyond that in most other word games. Very satisfying.

KKM, Amazon customer

$12.00
TableTalk®
TableTalk®

WHAT CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING ABOUT TABLETALK:

Best Dinner Game Yet

Kids are 3 & 5, they love it at meal times, it keeps them at the table eating for a long time! Normally they want to be excused and go off to play, leaving 90% of their dinner on their plate. This game is great for all ages. We (the adults) join in and our youngest was playing it when she was 2. You learn a few facts along the way too. Basically each card has the top half with factual information about something, then at the bottom are questions like what animal would you want to be, what would you eat, how would you spend your day, where would you want to travel to, how would you get there, who would you take with you, etc.

We have a few dinner game products, but this one is the only one so far that allows the kids to both play at the same time, involving the whole family in conversation together and it allows them to continue to eat while playing and it doesn't take up a bunch of space on the table. It's educational and fun! :)

-- L. Hinnrichs (California), Amazon


Great little product, great little price

I bought these on a whim because they were so inexpensive and I am glad I did. My kids were 6, 4, 2 and newborn when we got them, so really only my 6 and 4 year olds could participate. Even still, I think you have to be at least 4 and even 5 or 6 years old would be more suitable. Still, they loved when I would get these out and it's really fun to have your kids listening and engaged all together. It was a really low price when I bought them so if you're looking for something fun to do with your kids while you're at the table, or killing time somewhere, these are great. You can pass them on to someone else when you've gone through all of them, or save them for a year or two and start over and see how the answers change!

-- TXMOM (Texas), Amazon

$6.00
Original Wizard® Card Game
Original Wizard® Card Game

The Development of Wizard Card Game

Ken Fisher of Toronto, Canada first conceived the card game "Wizard" at his lakefront cottage in Haliburton, Ontario. He wanted a card game that he could play with his wife and young son as well as other vacationers during the quiet evening hours. Building on the basic game play of the traditional card game "Oh Hell," Ken modified some of the rules and added 8 additional cards, 4 Jesters and 4 Wizards, which radically improved the game. The rules are very simple, but the strategy involved in playing Wizard makes it both enjoyable and challenging.

Ken was not new to the games industry. Earlier, he had created "Super Quiz," which generated six popular "Super Quiz" books and three successful "Super Quiz" board games as well as a syndicated "Super Quiz" newspaper feature which continues to be carried by over 30 North American newspapers.

Wizard Card Game was self-published in 1986 with a first production run of 10,000 games. In 1991, fueled by an enthusiastic public response to Wizard, a complete graphical redesign was undertaken which brought the card-fronts essentially to their present design. In 1994, Ken Fisher granted world rights to U.S. Games Systems, Inc. of Stamford, Connecticut. The overall quality of the cards was vastly improved and the current card back was instituted. A deluxe version was later created, which included bidding wheels. Bidding coins were also added to the product line, which indicate to other players the number of tricks won and remaining to be taken.

Since its introduction in 1986, Wizard Card Game has been translated into 15 languages and is sold in China, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Japan, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Russia to name a few countries. In 1996 a license was granted to Amigo-Spiele for manufacture and distribution in Germany of a Fantasy Wizard version.

In 2003, www.wizardcards.com website debuted providing free online play of "Wizard" for players around the world. The annual Wizard World Tournament is held in a different country each year. In 2011, the Wizard Card Game app was launched for the iPhone and iPad.


WHAT CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING ABOUT WIZARD:

The editorial staff at Toys Bulletin has recently reviewed several games published by US Games Systems, Inc. However, we should take some time to mention what many consider to be their "flagship" game, that being "Wizard." Most game players have played or heard of "Wizard." Those that have not should place their order right after reading this review.
 
"Wizard" was invented by Ken Fisher in 1984, and the first game cards were released in 1986. The staff at Toys Bulletin has been playing the game for over 10 years, and although it may resemble other card games, it stands on its own merits.
 
The object of "Wizard" is to bid correctly on the number of tricks you think you will take during each hand of play, and earn points along the way. The player earning the most points wins the game.
 
The playing deck consists of a regular 52 card deck of playing cards, plus 4 wizard cards and 4 jester cards for a total of 60 cards. The game is suggested for ages 10 years and up, although a junior version is available (see later in review). It is recommended for 3-6 players. For the first hand, all players receive just one card, on the second hand, they receive two cards and so on until the final hand when all cards are dealt. Immediately after dealing each player is asked how many tricks he or she will take during that hand. It is entered on the scoresheet.
 
The first of the remaining cards is turned over and becomes the trump for that hand. The last hand is considered "no trump." Play begins to the left of the dealer, and any first card can be played, but the player should always keep in mind their predicted number of tricks. Players must follow suit, and if someone cannot follow suit, then they can play any other suit, or even use a trump card. Wizard cards trump all other cards and Jester cards count as zero and lose to all other cards. Wizard and Jester cards can be played on any trick.
 
When the hand is completed, the number of tricks won by each player is tallied. If a player correctly bid the right number of tricks, they score 20 points plus 10 points for each trick taken. If a player's bid was incorrect, that player loses 10 points. Play then continues through the final hand and the winner is the player with most accumulated points by the end of the game.
 
Despite our familiarity with "Wizard," we decided to test it on our age appropriate focus group. Well, the response was not surprising. Everyone really loved it, both men and women and young and old. This is the kind of game that every family must have in their collection of games.
 
There are also lots of variations to the game, including hidden bids, quick play, blind bids, and even one called Jester bid, where the bid is always 0.  We also want to mention the "Wizard Junior" Card Game, with colors rather than suits and fewer cards intended for players 8 years old and up.
 
There is even a special fantasy edition of "Wizard" patterned after the popular German version of the game. Although the rules are the same, the fantasy version incudes elves, dwarves, humans and giants instead of suits. The cards are beautiful.
 
Please check out "Wizard" at funagain.com. All of the "Wizard" games mentioned here can be bought for less than $10.00 each. For even more fun, go to the special "Wizard" website, wizardcards.com. Without saying, "Wizard" receives Toys Bulletin's highest gold rating.
 
-- RJ Cullen
$8.00
Snatch-it Word Game
Snatch-it Word Game

WHAT CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SNATCH-IT WORD GAME:

I seriously adore this game. Never did I think that playing with my snatch could be so much fun. I love to beat my friends while we play with my snatch. I haven't picked up boggle or scrabble since I started playing with my snatch ... game. It is quite possibly one of my favorite word play games of all time! Seriously!

-- J. Cooper


Snatch-It, by U.S. Games Systems, is a simple word game which is compact, quick to learn and fun! The game comes with 100 plastic tiles, and it is cleverly packaged in a simple tube.

Play is simple. Players lay all of the tiles face down in the middle of the table. Then players take turns flipping the tiles over one at a time. When a player sees a word three letters or longer, they shout it out and snatch it from the center, setting it in front of them. Players can steal each other's words by adding a letter to them, so beware!

What's great about this game is that unlike many word games (Scrabble, for example), it's socially interactive the whole way through. No waiting for other players to take forever making their play ... it's fast-paced and fun.

-- Megan R.


I was in an Airport in Vermont waiting for 3 hours for my next flight home when I first played this game! It is perfect to carry around in your bag. IT's light, and tons of fun! It not only makes you think fast, you also have to have fast reflexes to snatch the word! Love this game! It can be played with lots of people or just two!

-- Christina C.


This is a clever new word game which is simple yet incredibly addictive. My husband and I play this game almost every night. It is cleverly packaged and takes up little room, so we keep it accessible on the kitchen table and consequently, play often.

It has a simple premise and scoring method, is fun for 2 or more players, and keeps all players involved in the game. It takes little time to play one game, so it's a great option for after dinner. It only takes a game or two for new players to become very competitive with experienced players, and thus is great for mixed groups. Good spelling is a help, as is a good vocabulary, but even those skills are less important than being able to track the words and letters in play and keep possibilities in mind for when the right letter appears. My 17 y/o stepson can routinely beat us, and he's not an avaricious reader as we are, he just sees -- and seizes -- the opportunities available.

-- Practical Gourmet


Forget those slow and solitary word games--this game is fun-- a grabby/snatchy version of word play. To make it harder require longer words. To make it easier for the younger crowd set a maximum length. It's easy to explain the rules and get the game going and it doesn't take forever to get through a round so it's a great game when you just have a few minutes while it is exciting enough to play again and again for long term enjoyment.

-- Crystal M.


This is Scrabble for the 21st century. The game is perfect in many ways: fast to learn, easy to play, quick pace of play, never the same game twice, and virtually unlimited number of players (I have seen 2 to 10). To make it even better, this isn't one of those games where people have to sit around and "wait their turn"; if you have a party and this game is out, people can come and go without having to sit there constantly.

It really is fun -- this is a new game in my family (and extended family) and it seems like we are all hooked! Congratulations to U.S. Games Systems for making a terrific product.

-- Timothy N.


Snatch is a stellar game designed by the Brits and named "Snatch-It" in the states. The game is similar to Scrabble, but there is not a limit on the length of words, and words can continue to grow or be combined to form huge words. I advise purchasing this game. If you like the Jumbler from the paper, you may be good at this game. Or if you simply like solving anagrams, this game will be suited for you.

-- Andrew O.


If you like scrabble then you'll love this game. It's super simple to learn and great for teens or adults. I'd definitely recommend it!

-- Anissa W. "word game junkie"


Very Fun! If you like word play, try this fun and challenging game. Its compact packaging makes it a great game to take on vacation. It can be played at several levels depending on players’ sensibilities, from a "learning" mode to cutthroat. I highly recommend it.

-- E. Sutton


This game is great -- easy to learn, and moves much faster than scrabble! Much more engaging, as everyone has to pay attention all the time. We gave it to our parents for Christmas, and the family became instant addicts.

-- K. Shilling

$18.00
Banana Split Card Game
Banana Split Card Game

WHAT CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING ABOUT BANANA SPLIT CARD GAME

When it comes to a unique and fun game to both entertain and teach your child, Banana Split ranks at the top of the list. Published by U.S. Games, it is a terrifically fun and educational game for 2 - 4 players. While the recommended age is 6 and up, this game captivates my five year old daughter for long periods of play. Since receiving it as a gift, she has asked me and her mommy to play it every single day, and we enjoy it as well.

The game has great visuals and manipulatives, including 132 cards and four fold-out ice cream stands, designed to hide players' ingredients. The action of building desserts takes place within one's ice cream stand, while a play mat serves to advance the game by organizing the cards still in play and remaining to be played. Gameplay is appropriately paced; each turn allows the child to make a decision as to whether they have the necessary ingredients to create a dessert or they need more in their inventory.

The box reads: "A great way to teach kids numbers, sequencing, addition, and strategy." I would add that these skills are rewarded in consistent steps, and some part of that list of four skills is addressed in each move of the game as each dessert is successfully created (usually in two to seven moves). Because the game progresses swiftly, punctuated with frequent successes, it really captivates all players' attention quite nicely, even for the adults! I highly recommend this game to all parents who want a fun, developmental game that their child will repeatedly ask to play.

—John Alan

$15.95
Halloween Playing Cards
Halloween Playing Cards

 

What customers are saying about Halloween Playing Cards
 
“If you love the fun-filled and slightly freaky American holiday of Halloween with it's orange and black cornucopia of characters and symbols you will adore this deck as I do.”
—Terrie, Amazon customer

I collect all things Halloween/fall, so when I saw these I had to get them. They're very cute, the card stock seems pretty good, all the cards were there and I think it's a good item for any Halloween enthusiast to have! They'd also be great for Halloween party games. 
—Autumn, Amazon customer
$6.00
Dicewords®
Dicewords®

What customers around the world are saying about Dicewords

I cannot begin to tell you the hours and hours of fun that your Dicewords game has afforded our family - your dice have travelled with us to Poland, South America and the States, they have been scattered across airplane meal trays, express train buffet car tables, knees on buses. A fantastic product

—Mrs A. Goodman, Bishop’s Stortford


Dicewords is an excellent, very well realized game, not to mention a very portable one - the dice, rules and scoring sheets are all contained in a snug little plastic tube. Also, the packaging is designed in such a way that there are no superfluous bits of plastic wrapping or cardboard that will end up on a landfill somewhere. A small point, perhaps, but an example of the kind of thought and consideration that’s gone into every aspect of the game. Dicewords is a class act through and through, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

—Ben Rainbird, British actor


I purchased this game recently and have become addicted. It's great for 2 players or more. After playing it a few times, we settled on 4 minutes per person which is just enough to put the pressure on and keep the game moving between players. Owing to its size and weight, it’s ideal to take on holiday for couples or families. Beware though, you may need a dictionary to resolve disagreements in spelling!

—Angie H, Croatia


What a great game. We have just played it all around Australia and New Zealand and are now sending some out to some of our hosts there. Thank you.ome out to some of our hosts there. Thank you.

—H. Cobban, Tolpuddle, UK


Like many of the best ideas, Dicewords is very simple and the rules can be learned in a couple of minutes. It has elements of Scrabble and Boggle (and no doubt other word games) but at the same time has its own unique character. It's extremely flexible: it can be played anywhere, with any number of people, for any length of time, and with any level of skill. It can be enjoyed by everyone - from the 6-year-old who can spell a couple of dozen words to the hardened Scrabble fanatic. However, what I personally enjoy most about it is the collaborative element. While Scrabble tends to generate long silences as players struggle with impossible letter combinations, and Boggle creates frantic mayhem while everyone races each other to get the most words, Dicewords invariably seems to encourage co-operation between players. Although each player has their own turn with their own letters, everyone else can watch them put a word together and this often ends up as a group activity. Most of my best words have been made with other people's letters! This does, of course, mean that winning the game is a rather random affair, but it's a great deal more fun than sitting silently for an hour or so. For this reason, it works well as a party game and is a great icebreaker if you have friends who don't know each other well. Of course, it can also be played in a deadly serious and competitive fashion, if that's what you want. Anyone who enjoys word games will love this, and I can imagine it would work very well in an educational environment too.

—V. Tapp, Brighton, UK


Dicewords is probably the most compact word game ever. It comes in a smart tube, small enough to fit in your pocket. But despite its size this game is certainly substantial!

MightyApe Company, New Zealand


This is a great game for 2-4 players, comprising nine dice with a different letter on each face. A player rolls the dice and then has the opportunity to roll each dice again up to three times with the objective of making the highest scoring word. Each player takes a turn, and the scores are totted up. Play resumes back with the first player until a player reaches a pre-decided winning total.

The way the scoring system works is quite clever too, in that there is a compromise between the length of the word and complexity of it, as each letter has a different score associated with it. To score the turn, the number of letters in the word is multiplied by the score of each of those letters (the tube includes a multiplication table to ease you through this).

This is a rewarding game where the chance element is large enough to bridge gaps between different intelligence levels, but an enjoyable experience for all. I would recommend this as a family activity, or for out and about, as it takes up almost no space.

—M.P. Baker, London England


This game is fantastic. I'd been trying to invent a tactical, strategic game myself that just uses dice. I had thought about lettered dice also, but this guy just seems to have hit the nail on the head. It's very good.

—Simon Jepps, England

$12.00
Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game
Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game

Check out Miami Dice's Tom Vasel and Sam Healy's review of Hooyah!

 


There are lots of card games out there and some of them feel very cookie cutter, whereas some of them stretch the boundaries of what most peoples concept of card games should be. Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game has found the sweet spot. There is enough about this game to make it feel fresh while still retaining the comfortable feel of a casual card game.

Starting with the outside and working our way in, we see box art that is worthy of its title. No, the Navy SEALs have not endorsed this game, even though several former officers advised on some of its aspects. The box, its plastic internal separator, the cards, the health tokens, and the instruction manual are all high quality. The cards are easy to read, durable, same with the time counter device, and the health tokens are just as sturdy as they can even withstand limited exposure to mouthy kittens (results may vary depending on kitten and length of exposure). U.S. Games is a well established company and they put considerable resources behind this game, it looks and feels great.

The rules, and their book, are easy to read and easy to learn but do allow some time to actually read the rules. There are some card games out there that you can open and play, Hooyah is a bit more involved than that, but the small amount of time it takes to learn the rules is well worth it. Hooyah is a military game in a very abstract sense. The creators have done a good job of capturing some of the aspects of military missions, but in no way are claiming that this card game will replicate the actual feelings and emotions generated by an actual military excursion.

The game allows each player to assume a duty position on a SEAL team for a mission. Each of these positions are actual roles that different real life officers will assume on a mission, including a commander, medic, and a sniper. There are ten roles in total which allows the player quite a few variations on gameplay. Each role has special abilities and some of them will be more useful than others depending on the mission. The commander position is the most challenging as the person assuming this role will have to assume some leadership duties during the game.

Each mission, based on real SEAL missions, has objectives that have to be met for success. The Skills and Equipment Cards (seventy-five as well) contain some equipment that give bonuses, and success in the game hinges on matching having enough cards of a certain color or a combination of cards to “create” a card of the needed color. It might sound strange, but once you start playing the game, or watch several gameplay videos, it will become clear quickly.

An added bonus to this game is that there are solitaire rules. Anyone who has purchased a card game and wanted to play it only to find that their buddies are not available or not interested know that then you are left with a large card sized game paper weight. By providing a solitaire option, U.S. Games has doubled the amount of times this game can be played, and they’ve even gone so far as to translate the rules for Hooyah into German.

It’s easy to tell that this is a game that U.S. Games Systems are proud of and rightfully so! Hooyah is a homage to the Navy SEALs, a group of men who put their lives in harm’s way on an almost daily basis to protect the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. This game shows respect and at no time steps over any lines. U.S. Games Systems didn’t need to use former Navy SEALs as advisors on the game, it would have been fine without their input, but it wouldn’t have been near as good or felt near as real. This attention to detail is the cornerstone to successful military operations and to the success of this game.

I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys card games as it plays as well as it looks! The opportunity to take a leadership role, and the concept of losing if any of the members of the team lose all of their health are two dynamics that make this game breathe. To call this game cooperative is a gross understatement. This game can’t be won unless every player is in to win and are willing to be team players. I could actually see this game being used in leadership classes or as a team building tool. Right now U.S. Games Systems is offering this game for the discounted price of $24.95 if ordered before 1/1/13, at which time the cost will increase to $32.95. At either price this game is worth it.

-- Cape Rust, Geek Culture. Geek Media. Geek Like!


Hooyah is much more than a war themed game…much more.

Mike Fitzgerald has ingeniously created a game that captures the feel of the challenge and rising tension that one would imagine is created when facing unthinkable real-life dangers without violence or controversial subject matter. Fitzgerald manages to do this with an elegant system that is less specific, less blatant and very intuitive. Using simply colors and numbers and some Seals imagery, the game’s objective rests firmly on the shoulders of the players, their interaction with each other and of course, communication. These challenges can only be overcome with training, expertise and teamwork.

On the subject of teamwork, many cooperative games force players into a situation where often the alpha player at the table suddenly becomes the boss, playing the game for the other players, diminishing the teamwork aspect of the cooperative motif. In Hooyah the player who is the Lieutenant Commander IS in charge and by the rules (of the game and the military) all players must answer to and defer to the LC’s decisions. Give the LC role to a more timid player and see what happens! The Time Counter device is a wonderful balancing mechanic that creates a time limit based on the difficulty of the Operation being attempted. Each of the 10 Navy Seal character cards also have special abilities that when combined create a sense of unity in the group rather than creating conflicts on who should do what. Combined with the LC’s role, this produces a very tight foundation for player interaction.

The rising tension of the game is manifested in the five Operations that players must complete in order moving up a visible ladder to the main Mission card. Trouble is, events that can use up your resources before attempting the OP increase in number as the game progresses. In a four-player game, for example, by the 5th OP, players must face 9 event cards (two per player plus one). In preparing for the Mission and Ops you plan and prepare as much as possible, but the real threat of failure looms ever-present.

Hooyah excels as a solitaire game. In fact, Fitzgerald admits that the game was developed and play-tested solely in solitaire mode long before testing with other additional players. For this attribute alone, where most solitaire rules fall a bit short (who wants to play alone?), the tension and challenge immerse a player even in solitaire mode – a tribute to the game’s tight design.

Mostly though, in Hooyah you have a game that doesn’t beat you over the head with theme. The danger is portrayed through tension not graphic violence. It doesn’t need minis or maps. The Missions are real-life missions, and if you feel inclined to read about them they are included in the rules. The weaponry exists as Equipment cards that provide an image, name and special ability but not damage values or ammunition ratings. As a family game, the basics of color/number matching, preparation and cooperation to achieve a goal are all qualities that parents would be proud for their children to learn. For any other gamer, it is a test of good communication, command structure, risk assessment and confidence – all qualities I am sure that any Navy Seal would need. And when a mission is accomplished, arms will be raised in victory – a sign of a truly immersive and expertly designed game experience.

—BoardGaming.com


Hooyah is a cooperative card game based on modern real world Navy SEAL missions published by U.S. Games Systems

This game is sexy from the inside out! The rules are easy to learn, the cards are stunning, and the gameplay is intense. HOOYAH is a well-executed, fast-paced game that maximizes your time on target. The time and energy put into this game shows the respect that U.S. Games has for the brave warriors of the U.S. Navy SEALS and the special operations they carry out in the dark of night, behind enemy lines while we sleep. Double check your gear and head over to the briefing room. There are evil people out there doing evil things, only you and your team can stop them! HOOYAH!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10

This is a high quality product. U.S. Games Systems spared no expense producing this game. The cards are the right weight and the artwork is top notch. The text on the cards is easy to read and the font has the right military feel. The depictions of the equipment on the cards are accurate line drawings with some interesting factoids included. All of the pieces included with this game are high quality and will not fall apart even with repeated use. My kitten Tum Tum Monster Destroyer got hold of a few of the health counters and minus some cosmetic damage they are still quite useable (Tum Tum Monster Destroyer is an epic creature with a high challenge rating but your results with animal encounters might vary). The box art really gives a SEAL/Special Ops feel and like everything else the box is high quality.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10

Hooyah, does not try to replicate the stress of real world combat or real world operations. U.S. Games Systems has more respect for the uniformed services than that. This game really stresses cooperation and teamwork. Each player assumes real world SEAL team positions that give them special abilities. Team roles include things like sniper, commander, communications and medic. There are actually a total of 10 roles the players can assume providing a great deal of variation in game play. Most of the mechanics are based on having the right amount of cards of a certain color. The rules are more complex than that, but that is the baseline mechanic. Mike Fitzgerald, the creator of the game, was kind enough to add mechanics that drive cooperation (like a tabletop role-playing game) and actually places one of the players in a leadership role. If one of the players loses all of their health tokens, the mission is a failure. One of the values that many soldiers hold dear is that we don’t leave anyone behind. That is harder said than done, but always a goal. The rules are not hard to learn but it does take a few minutes to read through them. I recommend allotting at least a half hour before playing the game for the first time to read through and learn the rules. This game includes rules for solitaire play, which is very rare for any card game of this type.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10

I wanted to play this game as soon as I saw an advertisement for it. I was in the military and this struck a chord with me right away. I was in the Army and I do feel the whole Navy SEAL thing has been played out, but this game is a genuine tribute to the SEAL and the amazing things they do. Every piece of this game adds to the desire to play. If you are not interested in anything military, just focus on the the team work and color matching aspect and you should still enjoy the game.

Overall: 10 out of 10

I had a great time learning how to play and actually playing this game. I have played it several times in groups and alone and enjoyed it every time. There are just enough other factors and variables in the game to keep it interesting and the amount of SEAL team role combinations possible at the table providing a vast amount of variations during game play. This game was designed to pay homage to not only the Navy SEALs but Special Operations and the military as a whole. If you are looking for a change of pace from your normal RPG or are getting tired of Magic or Munchkin, then this is a game great diversion. I can see Hooyah being used in leadership classes or for team-building exercises as well. No matter how or when you decide to play Hooyah, play it, it is fun. Lock and load, it’s a wild ride!

—Cape Rust, Role Player’s Chronicle


I’m always on the lookout for short solitaire and co-op games, so when I stumbled upon this goofy-looking box at the local game shop, I just had to give it a shot for the $30 sticker price. I had heard some decent things about it, and though the theme and art made it look like a cheap promotional game that’s really a recruiting tool in a bad disguise, I took the plunge. HOOYAH!

Components
There are 150ish cards in the package, half of which are Ops cards and half of which are equipment and skill cards. The card stock has a pleasing appearance and a nice rough feel to it, though a few of my cards have seemed to scratch rather easily compared with nice linen-textured stock. Also included are oversized character, reference, and mission cards, a neat mission holder/stand, a handful of health tokens, the rulebook, and a really cool little mission timer/counter.

The graphic design on the cards is very well-done, though I feel the art on the characters leaves something to be desired. Everything meshes together nicely though. It’s always a little disappointing to spend over $20 on a card game and only get a tiny pack of flimsy cards, so I was pleased that the publisher went the extra mile to make sure players have everything they need to keep track of rounds and health without paper and pencil. It’s a nice package that makes you feel you got your money’s worth. But who cares? It’s all about the gameplay, so let’s see how that stacks up. HOOYAH!

Gameplay
This game sets up very quickly, an important factor in how often I’ll bust a game out for a lightning solitaire session. You’ll basically shuffle two decks, lay out a display from each, pick a character, grab five health tokens, and start. For comparison’s sake, it’s up and running faster than Space Hulk: Death Angel, which I’ve found a little physically fiddly due to the spatial element and all the different decks and hands to manage.

You’ll pick one of five missions to take your hardened Navy SEAL team on. One player in the group must be the Lt. Commander, who has the task of asking each player what he can contribute to the mission each round. Everyone else gets to pick a special class, each of which gets a bonus when playing a particular color or else has some other ability to help you on your way. Once everyone’s ready, you reveal the first “op”, a set of two colored and numbered cards in the middle of the table. (The rulebook literally says that the commander must call HOOYAH! for the ops phase to start. This is easily the best contribution to gaming in the past 10 or 15 years). Your goal is to play combined skill and equipment cards as a team to meet that color and number requirement. So if the middle has a green “2” and a purple “4”, you’ll need to play two green cards and four purple cards to pass the op.

The game has a neat little mechanic in the timer which acts as a balance against extremely high number requirements or extremely low numbers having been drawn: the combined number of the set is the number of turns your team gets to draw colored cards from the skills and equipment display before you must go on the op or start losing health each turn. So in the above example with a green 2 and a purple 4, you would collectively receive 6 turns in which to draw 2 cards each turn to prepare for the mission. While you might try to keep track of what people are picking up from the display, of course you won’t know what cards they drew blindly from the deck, so you must rely on the commander’s “roll call” ability.

Review
The card play is sound, and the leader mechanic is novel. This game plays quickly and is better for it, as it never outstays its welcome. It also plays well solo as well as co-op, though in this case I think it’s better with three or four than with one or two. The pairing of set collection and a tense theme reminds me of Knizia’s Lord of the Rings cooperative, and indeed this game plays like LOTR Abridged. Any game that can pack that type of an experience into a half-hour or so is okay by me.

I like this game quite a bit, probably more than you’d think based on the relatively simple ruleset and thin dusting of theme. I feel that the theme is really what you make it--pretend the firepower ops are guys you’re picking off on the outskirts of the target compound, the tech ops are alarms you’re hacking before they go off, the air requirements are air support units running real-time surveillance. Still, it’s set collection and hand management at heart, and it’s not an easy game to lose oneself in.

In a lot of ways it’s again akin to Lord of the Rings, a game that can be polarizing as some do not like the way the theme was integrated. I personally love that game, and it’s one of the few I’ve rated “10” here on BGG, as it successfully abstracts the tension of the books if not a simulated page-by-page of what Frodo & Co. went through. So is it with HOOYAH: the game captures the building threats and problems of preparing for a mission, though you’re not rolling dice to headshot terrorists or gun down evil dictators. When it comes to immersion, while you won’t hear the bullets whizzing by your head, you may just hear the faint sound of choppers whirring in the distance. HOOYAH!

SEVEN HOOYAH'S OUT OF TEN

(Note: This game as a solitaire or co-op experience is far too easy if you’re playing by the rules as published. You’re just gaining way too many cards per turn to fail. But the designer posted variants that were originally intended to be included with the game here on BGG, and the game is far more tense with a selection of those.)

Kyle Mann, Board Game Geek

$24.95
WOW—World of Words
WOW—World of Words

 

What gamers are saying about WOW
 
WOW: World of Words is great fun for anyone who is even remotely interested in word games. For casual gamers, it does a lot of things right that some other word games don't. For instance, all players play simultaneously—there is no need to wait 15 minutes between turns for your opponent to carefully choose just the right word (cough: Scrabble). If you're not a great speller, it doesn't really matter—if you know what a word starts and ends with, and it's at least 5 letters long, it's fair game. For the most part, there is no need to nitpick on spelling (cough: Scrabble and Boggle). In addition, reading through the list of words at the end of each round is not as drab as it seems, since even then there is some strategy involved in choosing which words to say first.
 
If the players in your group like to make up words just in case they're real, it's good to have a dictionary on hand (preferably searchable on a mobile device) to verify the validity of a word. Also, the 30-60 minute play time for a single game can feel a bit long, but it's easy enough to cut it shorter by reducing the number of cards.
 
Before our first play, one player heard the rules and was very underwhelmed, expecting it to be a boring, educational exercise. However, when playing the game, he completely turned around and really got into it. This game is one that you wouldn't know how challenging it is until you give it a try. And I am glad that I did—it is a simple, fun, and competitive game that is a great fit for casual gamers.
 
Pros: Simultaneous play, challenging, fun
Cons: Can feel a bit long for some groups
 
—Chris James, Casual Game Revolution

One element that separates "WOW" from most of the other word games currently available is its "creativity element". Most other word games provide you with a sequence of letters and you are required to manipulate them in various ways to form words. The letters provided limit your creativity and you are rarely able to create words much longer than "house" or "banana". The current games boil down to a "rearrange-the-letters" puzzle. Conversely "WOW" frees your mind to generate a myriad of words with 8-9-10-11 or more letters.
Many of the challenges may leave you scratching your head. I recently struggled with first letter H, last letter C. It's tough to come up with many answers in one minute but there are dozens of common words including the following: hectic, havoc, heroic, humanistic, hedonistic, holistic, heretic, hygienic and hypnotic.
Your mind is not put in a cage but is set free.
 
Wizardjester, Casual Game Revolution

 
How appropriate that at our event, The Wonderful World of Words, we played WOW -- World of Words. The fourth and final of the four word games we played has the simplest of rules. If you watch the video, you'll be ready to play in under three minutes.
I was worried that the game was so simple that it wouldn't hold the interest of our word sharks, but two tables played the game for close to two hours straight, foregoing the chance to try another of the games. Sometimes simple is good.
 
WOW is produced by U.S. Games, a specialist in card games. Instead of burdened with a useless board, WOW is small enough to carry in your pocket, so it's a great travel game for word lovers. And the price is right: eight bucks.
 
—David Feldman, Imponderables.com
$8.00
Escape from Alcatraz
Escape from Alcatraz

Sample Game

 

 

 

$19.95
Renaissance Wars
Renaissance Wars

What customers are saying about Renaissance Wars Board Game

The first thing to mention about “Renaissance Wars” is that it is a beautiful game. The components, including the box, game board, playing pieces and even the rules, are all top notch. The artwork and overall quality make this a standout product even before a game is played. Not surprisingly, the game itself really does live up to the hype.
 
“Renaissance Wars,” while a board game, actually does invite us to take a historical journey back in time, as the game highlights “conditions” that were paramount to those critical years that generally include the 14th to the 17th century. The five “conditions” are Religion, Culture, Economics, Politics and Seeds of Enlightenment. Players will even get to choose one of six luminary cards, each representing one of the key figures from the period, including William Shakespeare, Martin Luther, Ignatius of Loyola, Filippo Brunelleschi, Christopher Columbus and Francis Bacon. Each of these luminary cards has a special value and can provide added scoring opportunities during the game. The object of “Renaissance Wars” is to acquire more Florin coins than anyone else by the end of the game. Players compete by playing cards from their starting hand, trying to win skirmishes by collecting the cards of their opponents. Players are trying to build scoring melds, made up of certain card combinations, each having a different value that will earn Florin coins from the bank.
 
The second phase of the game is called the “Battle phase,” which is very similar to the skirmishes in the “Encounter phase.” However, when a player wins cards during this phase of the game, he does not attempt to form melds to earn Florin coins. Instead, each player totals their Florin coins from both the “Encounter phase” and “Battle phase”. The game continues until one player accumulates 1637 Florin coins, which corresponds to the year that is considered to be the end of the Renaissance Period. Although not discussed in this review, the game also includes several special playing cards that can help or hurt a player along the way. 
 
We found “Renaissance Wars” to be a fascinating game to play, with surprisingly easy to follow guidelines for the skirmishes and battles. There is also a lot of historical and biographical information on the cards that certainly enhances the overall playing experience. A typical game with experienced players can be completed in 45 minutes or so, and the game is recommended for 2-4 players ages 12 years old and up. 
 
—R.J. Cullen, Toys Bulletin
$49.95