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Great games - shame I can't sell them to you

This blog is here to support sales in my shop. I love being able to recommend games that I think you will enjoy - and that I can sell to you - and it pains me when I play a game that makes me want to shout from the roof tops 'You must play this game' if they are impossible to source .

On Saturday I played four games that fit this description.

'Race to the Rhine' sold out within four hours of listing on my website. The mesh of theme and euro mechanics to create a war game race is ingenious. It is a logistics race. And as such not a wargame, but actually much closer to what actually wins/loses wars. Wonderful production values, straight forward play and a great theme. Awaiting a re-print.

'Thunder Alley' went even faster than 'Race to the Rhine' - all copies went in 90 minutes. As much fun as I have had from a race game - wild swings of fortune, tactical but not to the extent of causing AP, detail left out in favour of flavour. I am not a NASCAR aficionado but this creates a a great feel of cars driving at great speed , one burst tyre away from disaster and one push to victory. More on order but I understand is going to be in limited supply until a re-print.

'The Front Nine'. Getting a copy of this is in your control as it is a Kickstarter project. I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy by the designer Nick Case. You can file next to 'sail to India' as a tiny game that packs a huge punch - market manipulation, visual spatial, income optimisation - loads going on. A treat to look at as well. Rahdo's Run through video should persuade you to back this game.

'Suburbia' was published in 2012. Every time it is re-printed it sells out in weeks. I am up to 7 plays and this is my favourite city builder - not least because behind this own tableau tile layer is a mordant wit; you can create a city scape polluted and populated by mobile home communities that survive financially by fast food restaurants or you can go all gated communities and create a high tech paradise. Awaiting a re-print.

Games to take on Holiday

Everyone loves an escape from the rat race, but  a holiday usually means that you have to go a week or two without playing any games!! Well not any more, with this list of games you will be able to play anywhere, and they will all fit into your case without having to leave behind the extra swimming trunks. They are also all very family friendly, so no need to send the kids off to bed at three in the afternoon to sneak in a game or two!

55 cards in a tin! Each card will have one item in common with each of the other cards; the aim is to spot the item before someone else does a lot of fun and great for children development. All in a tin small enough that you could even carry in your pocket. It’s also ideal for the larger family as up to ten players can join in.

For the slightly older family, Sail to India is a more tactical strategy game that comes in a small box. Easy to pick up and learn, but with enough depth to keep you occupied and having fun where ever you are. Can you be the first trader to set up a trade route to India, constructing buildings, selling goods and discovering new technologies along the way.

If you don’t want to take the box, just pack the cards and some way of keeping score. A game of pure genius, select a card, make a statement about it without giving too much away. Each other player will also pick a card that hopefully matches your statement and then they will all pick a card trying to find the one you played. Simple, fun and great for children of all ages, can be played with up to twelve players (with expansions), but also great with three or four. The art work is beautiful too.

Maybe the best in micro-design, 16 cards and hours upon hours of fun. Get your letter to the princess without being caught, or catch the others to take them out of the round. It’s so simple and yet addictive, so beware when you play this, you may end up locked in your room all day!!

The quick playing dice game, you are never idle when playing Qwixx as even on someone elses turn you can still mark off your scores. You have four rows, two going from 2 to 12 and two going from 12 to 2, you will try to cross of as many numbers in each row as you can, but you can go back once you have skipped one or more numbers. The active player can choose to mark off two numbers, but has to mark one or take a penalty! Somewhat akin to bingo, but with more strategy.

Let your imagination out and let it run wild. Roll the dice and then form a story with the result, it’s that simple. Children love it as they have limitless scope to tell a story, adults also love it as they can get more and more complex with their story telling. All done with the aid of just nine dice!

Need something quick just to scratch that itch? Well look no further, Eight Minute Empire is just that, eight minutes (give or take 1 or 2!) to build your empire and defeat the others. Up to four can play this mini-masterpiece.

Not a game as such, but with a deck or two of Bicycle Playing cards you will have hundreds of games at your fingertips, from the simplest snap games, to complex Bridge and lots in between. Nearly everyone has played a card game at one stage or other and all in a pack the size of a mobile phone.

Everyone plays a card face down, they are revealed and then placed in number order on the cards already out, you don’t want to place the 6th card on any row as it means you have to take the row and the Bulls Heads there. This is a game for up to 10 players and can get noisy, does take two minutes to learn.

As it states on the box “you don’t have to be faster than the shark, just faster than your friends”. This is a card game where you are trying to avoid being bitten by the shark, stay one step ahead of your friends and you will come away all in tact, don’t and you’re shark dinner!