Winning American Mah Jongg Strategies by Elaine Sandberg

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

I’ve been playing with friends for about 10 months and needed to fine tune my game. I started with Sandberg’s Beginners Guide so I knew this advanced guide could help.

It is easy to read with good illustrations and includes quizzes too. I’m playing an online version now, so I can apply what I learned right now.

I recommend this book.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Pandemic (Board Game)

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Pandemic is my all-time absolutely favorite board game. I have never turned down an opportunity to bring this game to the table and I hope to convince you, dear patron, that you also should give this Matt Leacock original game a staring roll in your future game nights.

When you open up Pandemic you become a team of CDC workers trying to save the world from four virulent virus strains that are wreaking havoc with the world population. You and your teammates need to search for cures, collect five city cards of the same color, treat diseases by removing clues in a city, and finally cure the disease by turning in the five city cards at a research center. While your frantically work on treating, researching, and just trying to make it from turn to turn, the game is actively working against you.

This cooperative game is a great gateway game to introduce people to a whole new world of games. Each player’s strengths leads to a better chance to win for the whole team allowing different levels of strategic thinkers to play together without getting overwhelmed or being defeated by an overly competitive teammate. This game only plays up to four players which makes it harder for a large group. I should mention in all fairness that for all the years I’ve been playing this game I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve won and each victory is a sweet memory I treasure.

Located in Board Games (GAME PANDEMIC)

Potion Explosion

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Exam time has arrived in the school of alchemists, can you pass the test and claim head student status? Players in Potion Explosion select marbles to fill spaces on their beakers. Once the beaker has all the correct ingredient marbles they can then use those potions to help them collect additional marbles. On your turn you can select one marble to take from the dispenser and you get to keep any ingredients that explode. An explosion occurs when two marbles of the same color touch after a marble is removed. At first this game seems really simple, collect color sets to get the most potions completed, however, once you start to play you discover a hidden depth of strategy that comes into play via using the completed potions to maximize the explosions each turn. This game is easily the third most played game that I own. I wouldn’t hesitate to pull this game out with a young family or a group of distinguished gamers; I have yet to find someone who can resist the challenge of causing as many marbles as possible to crash together. Check it out today and don’t forget to tell me your high score of the night!

Located in Board Games (GAME POTION)

Mystery of the Abbey

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

A medieval French Abbey is the setting of this mystery. Brother monks are settling down for the evening when the unthinkable happens! Someone is murdered; now you must search around the abbey for evidence and investigate each other in the hopes of finding out what happened. This game is Clue taken to the next level and set in an abbey instead of a mansion. Players can now ask questions based upon characteristics of the monk they suspect and clue cards give additional chances to gather information which means you are no longer limited to only finding things out based upon who’s in the same room as you or what rooms you can easily reach. Anyone who enjoys Clue or logic puzzles should give this game a try.

Located in Board Games (BOARD GAME MYSTERY)

The Mansky Caper (Board Game)

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Big Al is going out of town and has left his great big mansion full of loot. How could any self-respecting gangster allow all that treasure to become lonely? You and a crew of mobsters decide it’s best to break in and steal all of Big Al’s loot before he gets back in town. However, Big Al isn’t the trusting sort and has used dynamite to booby trap each safe in every room. The best bet is to crack the safes and pull out what you can without being too greedy between trips to the car to stash your newly found riches.

I’ve really enjoyed every play of this smart and clever push your luck game. Players roll the dice to see how many tokens are taken out of a safe; the loot is split evenly between all the players in the room. The safes also contain dynamite that can explode and cause everyone to lose everything in you your loot pouch. This game is great for younger players 7 and up but also has enough decision making and variety to entertain adults making it a great addition to any family game night where you want to spend more time playing and less time reading rules or deep in strategy.

Located in Board Games (GAME MANSKY)

Reef (Board Game)

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Create your own coral reef in this medium to light weight strategic game. Players need to use the cards in their hand to place coral pieces on their board. Each card has two parts, first which pieces you get and also how many points you can get if your reef matches the pattern shown. Each turn you play a card you will get coral but you might not get points. This tile laying hybrid is great for players of different strategic abilities as your choices are limited per turn but, apart from choosing cards, don’t interfere with the choices that other players are making. Reef also looks great on the table as the different pieces or coral transform your card into a colorful coral reef.

Located in Board Games (GAME REEF)

Mysterium (Board Game)

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Players are cast in the role of either a psychic detective or the ghost of the murdered victim out for justice. The ghost gives clues to each detective in the form of a “vision card” that is supposed to help them identify each element of the crime. Detectives each guess working together to figure out which suspect is the true culprit. Mysterium is a great selection for fans of Dixit and or Clue. 3-5 players, I would recommend this for older players as the length, deduction elements and theme might not be the best match for gamers under 10.

Located in Board Games (GAME MYSTERIUM)

The Thing (Board Game)

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

John Carpenter’s The Thing has become a classic movie and a favorite for many movie watchers; this game by USAOPOLY brings it to life. Can you figure out who is an imitation and who’s still on the team? Players work together to get off the research base by going on missions. Once the missions are completed it’s time to decide who gets on the helicopter. Choose wisely because if an imitation is saved humanity is doomed.

I loved this semi-coop; the way the missions are set up allowed my game group to have a great time trying to figure things out who was deliberately throwing the mission verses who just had bad cards. The artwork in this game also helps sell it to Carpenter fans, as each card has actual text from the movie included, and besides who can resist a game with Wilford Brimley quotes?

Located in Games (GAME THING)

Dino Dunk

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Dino dunk— Dinosaur basketball teams are battling in this dexterity game that will engage basketball and dinosaur fans of all ages. The pieces, theme and feel of this game are a slam dunk!
Players choose a team and battle it out by flicking a basketball towards the opposite sides volcano. Each dinosaur on the team has its own abilities just like players on a real basket ball team.

Located in Board Games (GAME DINO DUNK)