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Courtesy Rio Grande Games
This is the cover of Cinque Terre, the five villages.

Rio Grande Games is one of the premiere board game publishers in the United States. Its games have won the coveted German Game of the Year award multiple times. If you have a chance to play one of its games, it's almost always guaranteed to be good.

Presented here are three different games that are all fun to play.

Arctic Scavengers

This game places you in the role of a tribal leader in the year 2097. The earth has entered another ice age, and 90 percent of the population is gone. Your tribe must survive by using scarce resources, acquiring new items and recruiting more tribe members. The player with the largest tribe at the end of the game is declared the winner.

Arctic Scavengers is a deck-building game with player-vs.-player battles. It offers a surprising array of options, and the theme is fresh. Each player receives a deck of the same 10 cards. After a thorough shuffle, each player draws five cards. The cards represent members or equipment of a player's tribe. Cards allow a player to take actions during a turn.

The actions a player can do center around collecting more cards for building the size of a deck. New members can be purchased, new equipment can be dug out of the junkyard and players commit tribe members to battle over a single contested resource card at the end of each turn.

A unique aspect to this game is the player battles. The tribe that dedicates the most powerful cards to the battle will win the contested resource and add it to its own deck.

When the last contested resource card is won, the game is over. Each card in a player's deck representing a member of the tribe has a point value. Each player adds these points, and the player with the highest total point value wins. A bunch of expansions in the box allow for varied game play.

Cavemen: The Quest for Fire

This card drafting game features excellent claymation-style art and competitive game play. Players manage a tribe of cavemen and compete against each other to gather food, hunt dinosaurs, recruit tribesmen and discover inventions The first tribe of cavemen to discover fire wins the game.

Players begin with cards representing a cave and two tribe members. Each tribe member has a set of abilities that assists the tribe in various actions. Players also begin with cardboard tokens representing food and teeth. Food is used to feed your tribe and teeth are used to bid for a conch that gives a player first play in the round.

At the start of a turn, a pool of face-up cards is created and made available for purchase by all players. The pool of cards are things each tribe needs: new cavemen, inventions that grant powers, dinosaurs that can be hunted for food and teeth, and new caves, which allow bigger tribes.

Next the players bid their teeth tokens for a conch to see who will be the starting player. The starting player gets first pick from the pool of cards. The starting player also gets a second turn, which the other players do not get, but a starting player must feed the tribe.

Eventually one of the cards placed in the pool is the invention of fire. The first player to get the starting player conch and supply enough invention points may discover fire and win the game.

Cinque Terre

The five villages is a bright and cheery game about delivering and selling produce in Italy. Players act as farmers who gather eight different kinds of produce and then sell them at five cities along the Italian Riviera.

Two to five players lay out a board showing five cities and three farms. Random die rolls determine the prices of produce in each of the cities. Each player receives four cards containing a random assortment of produce such as olives, mushrooms, onions, grapes, zucchini, lemons, oranges and tomatoes.

Players begin in the countryside gathering produce from three farms. To gather a particular piece of produce such as grapes, a player must have a grapes card in his hand and be at the farm selling grapes.

Once a player grabs some produce, it's off to the cities to earn some points. Each city has a set of colored dice representing the purchase price for the matching produce. If a die shows a yellow four, that city will pay four points for each lemon delivered there.

Another way to earn points is through order cards. Each player begins with a secret order card showing each city and a type of produce that city wants. A value on the card shows the points available for completing a delivery to that city. Additional order cards are placed in full view on the table and the first person to meet the requirements for delivery can claim the card and its points.

A final way to earn points is by becoming the most popular vendor in a city. To earn this honor, a player must be the first to deliver a total of eight pieces of produce to one city. Each city has only one title to give, so players must act quickly. Score the most points by game's end and you win.

The components in the game are absolutely beautiful. Bright yellows and oranges, fun artwork, excellent player boards, fabulous colors, and delicious fruits and vegetables make this game feel good to the soul. This is a great game for families. Players can enjoy learning some Italian, too.

Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.