Letters from Whitechapel
This is a classic of the hidden movement genre of game. One player is Jolly Jack, attempting to commit his vile crimes and get away from the other players, taking the role of the police.
This is game of deduction and logic. Every time we've played it it has been very, very close and this one was no different. The only problem with this one is that it is very challenging puzzle and is not exactly what you would call a relaxing game.
The components are absolutely gorgeous; the main board being an 1889 map of the Whitechapel district which is lovely to spend aged pouring over. The playing pieces are nicely turned wood making the whole thing a lovely tactile experience.
This is great game that works well with two people but brilliantly with 3-5.
This is another classic. In this case it's a co-op - it's all the players versus the game. You play the crew of the CDC trying to deal with outbreaks of disease around the world.
The core of the game design is an engine which causes the diseases to accelerate like a snowball causing an avalanche. The players have to Marshall their resources and think about how to head off the rapidly advancing disaster.
We've only played this once so we're just starting to get a handle on the nature of the decisions that need to be made; however it looks like a good one.
The components really work well at giving you the feel of planning a campaign on one of those big world maps you see in movies. The disease cubes being clear plastic is a nice touch as it adds to the modern feel of the game.
My only small concern is that because the engine of the game - the AI, if you like, is driven by a fairly simple card mechanism, could it become slightly predictable? Only a few more plays will answer that question.
This is simply fabulous. It's a co-op game but very different to Pandemic. Imagine Cluedo but with the dead man trying to finger the culprit. One of the players is the ghost of a murdered man in a Victorian mansion; the other players are psychics tasked with finding out what happened. The only problem is that the ghost can't speak - it can only send dreams.
The dreams are art cards - and they really are little works of art - that the psychics have to link to the possible suspects, locations and weapons. We've played it with two people and are trying it with four this week: but this a great, great game. You should definitely get this - it works particularly well with a family as it shows exactly how well you can communicate with each other.
Roll for the Galaxy
We've played this a few time before. It is basically a stripped down 4x game where you are building a little galactic empire. As you can see from the photos, my empire in the most recent game was, frankly, crap.
The design of this game is incredibly elegant. The core dice rolling mechanism means that dice become workers, goods and currency all at the same time. It's a fast game as well it plays in about 45 minutes.
I would heartily recommend any of these games.