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Game reviews: Rajas of the Ganges, Dragon Island and In or Out are three solid gaming experiences
The components of Dragon Island are stellar. The hexagon tiles that are used to form the board are the span of a man's hand or half the span of a dragon's claw. - photo by Ryan Morgenegg
After several years reviewing board games, I've come to rely on R&R Games for fun, family-friendly games of superb quality. The recent crop lives up to the reputation. Rajas of the Ganges, Dragon Island and In or Out are all sold gaming experiences.

Bursting at the seams with strategy, unique mechanisms and tough decisions is the game Rajas of the Ganges. Built for 2 to 4 players, this game places players in the role of influential nobles during the 16th century in the empire of the Great Moguls. The location is the land between the Indus and Ganges rivers.

The goal is to develop a personal plot of land into a vibrant, profit-making province. To win, players must do something I have never seen in a game before: They must get their markers tracking fame and wealth to cross each other.

Those who enjoy dice rolling, worker-placement and empire-building will love this game. To start, each player is given a personal province board and three workers. A main game board is placed for all to use. It shows several important features of the game such as the river track, fame track, wealth track and quarry. This is where all of the action happens.

It's important to note in this game that dice are an important resource. The value and color of the dice will allow players to take certain actions. On the main board are several different locations where a player can place a worker to receive some benefit. Some spaces are free to place a worker on and others require a player to spend a die with a certain number or a certain color.

For example, to travel along the river track on the main board, a player must give up any colored die of value one, two or three. The river features several spaces that players will travel along. On each space is a bonus that a player will receive.

The chamber area of the main board has a variety of influential people. They will grant a favor if they are given the right resource in exchange. The quarry on the main board is also available to players as a resource.

There are 12 building tiles that can be purchased to fill up a personal province board. These are acquired by spending dice and resources. Each tile grants money or fame points that can help win the game.

Players take turns using their workers, gathering resources, spending resources and earning fame and fortune. When a player can get his or her markers on the fame and fortune tracks to meet, he or she wins. Hurrah!

Rajas of the Ganges comes with a high-purchase recommendation. There is a little bit of something for everyone in this game. It's enjoyable to play and be a part of. And there are so many choices and strategies. Find out more at R&R Games' website.

If you like wizards and dragons, then the game Dragon Island is the dragon's roar (cat's meow). A total of 2 to 4 players play wizards on a supposed deserted island but did you know dragons prefer to live on islands too?

The players explore the island in an attempt to locate fabulous treasures. So each turn a player will play a colorful double-sided tile to the center of the table, thereby creating the board as the game goes along. Each tile allows the player to perform certain kinds of actions.

Tile actions can help with the building of structures, accumulating fame, acquiring gold, receiving treasure cards and other helpful benefits. What other benefits? I'm glad you asked.

By playing colored tiles, wizards will generate energy. This energy is used to manipulate dragons. The colors of the tiles where a dragon can be found are important when trying to capture it. But did you know if you have a pet dragon, it is easier to capture another one? It's true. It seems that dragons like to flock together.

Tile placement is also important for treasure maps. A treasure card will indicate where a treasure can be found. For example, a recently acquired treasure card shows a treasure location surrounded by a blue tile, two red tiles and a green tile. If there is a configuration of such tiles on the board, the treasure can be found there. If not, a player can place the correct tiles and "create" the location. I wish I could create my treasures too. I'd be rich.

Over the course of the game, players will encounter the before-mentioned dragons. Players accrue fame points for capturing and taming dragons as well as building dragon pens and lairs. So if you want to score a lot of points in this game just think of dragons. Oh, and if you have a pet dragon, you can fly around the board in style.

Eventually, players will build out the entire island by placing tiles. When this occurs, the game is over. The wizard with the most treasure will laugh all the way to the bank. But the wizard with the most fame points will win. Its seems fame is far more important than fortune to wizards.

Dragon Island is an interesting and well-designed game. It combines some cool elements with a super cool theme. The production quality is absolutely amazing. Players will enjoy building up their turns so they can take a massive combo and accumulate a bunch of treasure. This game is great for families too. Find out more at R&R Games' website.

There are so many party games on the market sometimes its hard to tell them apart. But not R&R's latest party past time In or Out. This card game for 2 to 6 players starts with a uniquely designed card box that collects and spews out cards during the game exactly the way they are needed.

The game is simple. Deal out a set of 12 specific cards and read the statement associated with them. For example, a statement reads, "Choose a president who served 1,000 days or less in office." Players then look at the names on the 12 cards of the set and decide, is the person on the card in (part of the category) or out (not part of the category).

Was Gerald Ford in? Yes, that's correct. Was John F. Kennedy in? No, that's incorrect. He served 1,036 days. For each correct answer, players get a green chip. Incorrect answers are awarded a red chip. Red and green cancel each other out. The person or team with the most green chips at the end of the turn gets a gold chip. Get three gold chips and win the game.

In or Out is a well-produced and wonderful party game. It is fun to play and keeps players guessing. Even though the game is about trivia, players don't need to know an exact answer. They can guess and be right half the time. Cards are durable and double-sided for great replay. The card box is an engineering marvel and accepts and dispenses cards with ease. Other game companies take note. Find out more at R&R Games' website.
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