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Your Best Life

You've heard of 'flip & write' games and you've heard of team games, but doing both at once is where Yaniv Kahana's Your Best Life tries to break new ground. It has many familiar features of flip & writes: simultaneous decision making, combo bonuses, various private and public bonuses to try to achieve, minimal player interaction, and plenty of simple choices to make that nonetheless lead to complex decisions.

The subject matter of telling the story of your life gives a wide scope for subject matter, and the game feels very contemporary with its inclusion of social media as a fairly central device. However, the game is still mostly a collection of boxes and symbols; there's nothing to say what pet you've gained through activating the Pet track or what you've learned through the Education track. Each action card offers a collection of symbols, but these aren't themed either, which detracts slightly from the immersiveness of the game. The 'story variant' does encourage players to narrate the main events of the life they're developing, which will be popular with some groups.

The inclusion of partner play, allowing players to work in pairs even while playing against people playing solo, is certainly interesting. However, it does add complexity to a game that is already surprisingly complicated. Ironically for a game with 'Balance' as a scoring factor, it seems that some scoring strategies are much easier and more profitable than others. The stress element of the game uses die rolls (custom six-sided dice) to determine how much stress is suffered, which can lead to swings of good or bad luck but should hopefully balance out over the course of the game.

For people who like Ganz Schön Clever (Schmidt Spiele), with lots of boxes to cross off that give bonuses to allow more boxes to be crossed off, without worrying too much about the theme, this is along similar lines but more complex. In fact, it is more complex than you would expect for a game with such a broadly appealing theme. Even experienced gamers are likely to make plenty of mistakes at first and forget minor details when chaining multiple effects together. There are many symbols in the game, and some change colour in different situations, which can be more confusing than helpful. Still, for fans of flip & write games who want something challenging (including a solo mode) and perhaps a little different (pairing up), WizKids' Your Best Life will be worth checking out.

(Review by Matt Young)

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