Looking Back #6: NMBR 9, Smile, Tash-Kalar, Monikers, and Jump Drive

It’s time to go back and look at five of the games I reviewed three years ago and add them to The List. Here you can visit the original reviews, find out if I’ve kept or culled them, and what I think of the games in 2021.

This week we’re ranking: NMBR 9, Smile, Tash-Kalar, Monikers and Jump Drive


Original Review

NMBR 9 spawned my life long hatred for Polynomial games. Life long so far at least. Not because I think it’s bad, but I have a real aversion to games that have 0 player interactivity, or in this case -1 player interactivity. If your only interaction in the game is making me wait for my turn. Then this is a game I don’t want to play.

Though if you’re unaffected by this. NMBR9 is quite a good little puzzle. Creating a 3-D space for you to put your tiles on is something you’ll get better at, and you’ll be rewarded in points for your mastery of the game.

Make sure to grab that mini-expansion though.

Initial Rank: 49

Kept or Culled: Culled

Buy from Amazon.com

NMBR 9 game in progress, numbered polynomial tiles placed on top of one another.
I think I screwed up

Tash-Kalar: Arena of Champions

Original Review

I think Tash-Kalar is a fantastic game.

But it’s a victim of who I game with. For you to fully enjoy the game you need a gaming partner to take a big swig of the Tash-Kalar Kool-aid with you. This is true for any two player abstract games but especially for Tash-Kalar. As it’s a game that works best if you play it again, and again where you learn new tricks and more importantly how your opponent thinks.

Unfortunately, that’s not my play group, and I had to send this game onto more worthy owners.

Initial Rank: 39

Kept or Culled: Culled

Buy from Amazon.com

Two player game of Tash-Kalar, Red has the center on lock, while Blue is mounting a counter attack.
The battle for centre board rages on!


Original Review

Smile is the perfect game, if you’re looking for a small box auction game not named High Society.

For a while this was one of my favourite small box board games. Unlike High Society, Smile is so tactile with it’s glass beads that you play with like they’re meditation balls. It’s also incredibly evil, with its closed economy, you can corner the market, and force people into taking cards they definitely don’t want to be taking.


You leave them no choice.


The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was taking good cards early in the game, because the likelihood of someone forcing you take another card of that colour are so high. It kind of nixes the first half of the game.

Initial Rank: 26

Kept or Culled: Culled

Buy on Amazon.com

Deliberating whether to spend gems in Smile card game. There's already a lot on a -5 card.
Stupid cute creatures. No one wants that -5!

Jump Drive

Original Review

I really enjoyed Jump Drive.

If you only have 15 minutes to play an engine building game this is the one you want to play! Your engine just goes berserk from about the third turn and it gets exponentially better from there. It’s the 100m dash of engine building games, and it’s fun as heck.

Ultimately, I sold Jump Drive because it felt a bit too luck driven, and uninteractive. I replaced it with Res Arcana, and two other Tom Lehmann games in: Race for the Galaxy, and Roll for the Galaxy. I didn’t feel like I needed more in that space.

But would I jump at the chance to play this one again?


Initial Rank: 18

Kept or Culled: Culled

Buy on Amazon.com

Turn 4 in Jump Drive, gaining 5 points per turn here on out.
Things are about to take off.


Original Review

Monikers is silly fun. It’s for the larger group gatherings – if you can remember those – where you want to let loose and just have a good time. It also creates lasting memories from the times you do play. From the one time someone had to mimic evil Kermit the Frog, to other time someone had to describe Tom Cruise’s smile in one word.


It does cover adult topics, and can be a bit embarrassing to play. But once you get over the shock of having to play charades then you’ll find yourself having an amazing time. It’s one of my favourite party games, and now that I’ve brought it out, I really want to play it again!

Initial Rank: 10

Kept or Culled: Kept

Buy on Amazon.com

Half open Monikers box with stakcs of cards in front.
Only 4 points for moose in a hot tub. Come on!!

The last three weeks have been a bit of a mess as I’ve come down with two separate illnesses. Which have destroyed the groove I was in for writing articles and reviews. However, it has helped kickstart a 6 week challenge of posting every day on Instagram.

Where you can get great #content like….

So if you are looking for more #content be sure to check out @rolltoreview!

Otherwise thanks for reading.

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David Norris

Lover of dogs, books, comics, movies, anime, television, video games and most importantly board games. My site is all about the latter, and my journey through the glorious hobby.

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