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Boardgames, non-tactical ilk


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So the last 10 years or so, there's been a surge in popularity in boardgames, particularly complex ones.  So far here's a few I've enjoyed:

Arkham Horror: based on Lovecraft, players are investigators going around Arkham City picking up clues, dusting monsters and trying to stop the Eldritch Abomination from showing up. If they do, they have to fight them. I've played this a good bit. Although I really like it, I think it is too hard in many ways. Some of the characters you can pick are terrible.  And the main objective is to close gates. If you close enough of them in time you win. But it takes 2 turns to close them, which allows more gates to spawn.  

Photosynthesis: plant trees in the right place, spread pollen, plant more trees. What I like about this game is that it seems to be a better business sim than monopoly, at least for simulating physical retail space. 

Firefly: fly your space ship, crew it, make money, avoid the Alliance and the Reavers.  Tons of replayability, with missions and expansions. 

What are your faves? 

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Arkham Horror is great (and I think well balanced, all in all - if you were to win everytime, it'd be boring. Also, depending which Great Old One you pick, the challenge can differ a fair bit). Nice production values (like with pretty much all the Fantasy Flight games), but a less than optimal rulebook (like with pretty much all the Fantasy Flight games).

Carcassonne is deceptively simple. The genius part is that, depending on how many players are at the table, winning strategies change completely. Only one or two expansions are needed, most others aren't worth it IMO.

Dominion is another game where, depending on how you combine the game deck, the way to victory changes every time you play.

 

As far as all-time classics are concerned, still some of my favorites are

Kremlin by a Swiss author Urs Hostettler seems to have gone through various editions with rule changes (looking at you, Avalon Hill), changing the tone from light-hearted satire to a more serious tone. Basically, every player picks a list of favorite politicians that you try to push into positions of power so that "your" candidate gets to wave the troops during the October Parade three times. Fun lies in the morbidity tables as the guys may age fast in jobs for which they aren't made, especially if being officially investigated by the KGB or the military.

Illuminati by Steve Jackson. Needs at least four players, however, and a full evening. Possibly a night. Every player has his own path to victory which you can only deduct from his actions, so preventing a number of winning strategies with all the other players is an important element - but you need the others to cooperate in order to block the active player.

 

Also worth mentioning,

Glory to Rome strikes a nice balance between complexity and simplicity. Every player represents a family in Rome, tasked by Nero with rebuilding it after a great fire. So the players are competing for building materials, personnel, influence, and rewards.

Evil High Priest gets us back to Arkham, but this time with reversed roles. The Great Old One is coming, so make sure that you will be the chosen one to greet his arrival, rather than any of your fellow nitwit cultists, the unworthy lot!

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This is a fun rail game, the rules are simple enough that kids can play right along with the adults.  The link goes to the original US map version but there are other countries and continents versions with somewhat different mechanics available.

https://www.daysofwonder.com/tickettoride/en/usa/

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17 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Arkham Horror is great (and I think well balanced, all in all - if you were to win everytime, it'd be boring. Also, depending which Great Old One you pick, the challenge can differ a fair bit). Nice production values (like with pretty much all the Fantasy Flight games), but a less than optimal rulebook (like with pretty much all the Fantasy Flight games).

Carcassonne is deceptively simple. The genius part is that, depending on how many players are at the table, winning strategies change completely. Only one or two expansions are needed, most others aren't worth it IMO.

Dominion is another game where, depending on how you combine the game deck, the way to victory changes every time you play.

 

As far as all-time classics are concerned, still some of my favorites are

Kremlin by a Swiss author Urs Hostettler seems to have gone through various editions with rule changes (looking at you, Avalon Hill), changing the tone from light-hearted satire to a more serious tone. Basically, every player picks a list of favorite politicians that you try to push into positions of power so that "your" candidate gets to wave the troops during the October Parade three times. Fun lies in the morbidity tables as the guys may age fast in jobs for which they aren't made, especially if being officially investigated by the KGB or the military.

Illuminati by Steve Jackson. Needs at least four players, however, and a full evening. Possibly a night. Every player has his own path to victory which you can only deduct from his actions, so preventing a number of winning strategies with all the other players is an important element - but you need the others to cooperate in order to block the active player.

 

 

Oh, I don't want Arkham to be easy, just not THAT hard.  One way to win is if you close all the gates in one turn.  Impossible, since closing a gate takes 2 turns.  Plus some characters are kinda useless, like any of the characters with a 3 in sanity. Otherwise, yes, quality of components are awesome and it gives that instant RPG experience that I like.  

Carcassonne is so fun, it's like a puzzle game and every game is so different.  

I would like to play Kremlin, love some Cold War era stuff.

I slept on Illuminati, I need to try it. @rmgill mentioned when the FBI investigated SJG, and that sent me down a wikipedia rabbit hole.

Glory to Rome also sounds like my kind of game, I really like business-type games.

9 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Ive been buying up the Team Yankee wargaming books, which are really beautifully produced with realistic scenarios. Ive not bought any of the models, but I think it would probably be viable to play over the internet using something like Tabletop simulator.

Most people on wargaming FB use micro armor for this game.  Those minis are too big for a proper game. Bad decision on their part.   I play World at War 85, a boardgame, on TTS, I highly recommend you get a copy.  I also wrote an article for the publisher (toots own horn). 

8 hours ago, Rick said:

Chess. Also have "Stratego" on my computer, which along with coffee, then TankNet,  gets me going in the A.M.

Some millenial friends of mine just discovered Stratego. I told them it was Chess with fog of war.  

1 hour ago, Harold Jones said:

This is a fun rail game, the rules are simple enough that kids can play right along with the adults.  The link goes to the original US map version but there are other countries and continents versions with somewhat different mechanics available.

https://www.daysofwonder.com/tickettoride/en/usa/

That would be on my list to play one day.  Maybe I'll get it so my brother and his family can all play. 

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1 hour ago, Stargrunt6 said:

One way to win is if you close all the gates in one turn.  Impossible, since closing a gate takes 2 turns.

With certain magic items, it COULD be done, but it's very hard to pull off. Like, two investigators start a turn early, a the third with the item in the next turn, all three closed. But that requires that no fourth opens between the turns (like, it would happen in a place that you sealed before) and that everybody has enough clue points etc.

 

Also, note that closing a gate can be done in one turn. Sealing it takes the second round. But it's worth it, especially early in the game, if you can.

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2 hours ago, Stargrunt6 said:

Oh, I don't want Arkham to be easy, just not THAT hard.  One way to win is if you close all the gates in one turn.  Impossible, since closing a gate takes 2 turns.  Plus some characters are kinda useless, like any of the characters with a 3 in sanity. Otherwise, yes, quality of components are awesome and it gives that instant RPG experience that I like.  

Carcassonne is so fun, it's like a puzzle game and every game is so different.  

I would like to play Kremlin, love some Cold War era stuff.

I slept on Illuminati, I need to try it. @rmgill mentioned when the FBI investigated SJG, and that sent me down a wikipedia rabbit hole.

Glory to Rome also sounds like my kind of game, I really like business-type games.

Most people on wargaming FB use micro armor for this game.  Those minis are too big for a proper game. Bad decision on their part.   I play World at War 85, a boardgame, on TTS, I highly recommend you get a copy.  I also wrote an article for the publisher (toots own horn). 

Some millenial friends of mine just discovered Stratego. I told them it was Chess with fog of war.  

That would be on my list to play one day.  Maybe I'll get it so my brother and his family can all play. 

Yes, I noticed that watching it on youtube. It looks epic, but stacking tanks hub to him to fit in the available space looks weird. Micro would probably work very well.

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Me & my friends, we play TONS of board games. Like we live & breath them.

Eldritch Horror is awesome, but like Arkham Horror, it is super-hard. Particularly first wave of the Elder Gods are nearly impossible. I love it though. Cthulhu mythology monsters need to be scary. Down side of this game is long setup- and cleanup- times.

Chaos in the Old World is a great FFG game on destruction of the Warhammer Old World.

Puerto Rico and Caylus are excellent city building games. Puerto Rico again is kind of a pain to set up with tons of little pieces.

Mage Wars - this is pretty hardcore game but great. It's like Magic the Gathering, but on arena and doesn't suck like modern MtG.

Space Hulk - it never gets old. Mechanics are genius and it's just so damn pretty. Probably highest quality boardgame ever made.

Descent is a dungeon crawling game which is very tactical and almost endless in its variations. 1st Edition Descent was super fun, but megalomanical, very laborous to set up and play and broke down pretty easy especially the campaign mode was totally broken. 2nd edition and its multiple expansions are much quicker to play but perhaps went to too much of the other extreme in abstraction. Still like 'em.

7th Continent is extremely innovative Lovecraft-themed exploration game. Sadly it's a bit buggy and again massive time-waster, but sheer genius in many ways.

 

 

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I have Photosynthesis for my classroom, as well as Evolution: The Game and Evolution: The Beginning. The students love The Beginning because it's pretty simple rock-paper-scissors and they get cutthroat with each other in no time. Trying to find high-quality games for my classroom post-COVID so we can have a game for each unit. The kids love it and well-made games do well in teaching the basics of some deep scientific principles.

We also have Munchkin for testing time where they can just play something dumb.

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On 12/1/2020 at 1:44 PM, Ssnake said:

With certain magic items, it COULD be done, but it's very hard to pull off. Like, two investigators start a turn early, a the third with the item in the next turn, all three closed. But that requires that no fourth opens between the turns (like, it would happen in a place that you sealed before) and that everybody has enough clue points etc.

 

Also, note that closing a gate can be done in one turn. Sealing it takes the second round. But it's worth it, especially early in the game, if you can.

Yeah you can close it, after you spent two turns in the Other Worlds. By then, 2 more gates have opened with more monsters on the loose. So winning by closing gates is purely luck of the draw. 

 

20 hours ago, Yama said:

Me & my friends, we play TONS of board games. Like we live & breath them.

Eldritch Horror is awesome, but like Arkham Horror, it is super-hard. Particularly first wave of the Elder Gods are nearly impossible. I love it though. Cthulhu mythology monsters need to be scary. Down side of this game is long setup- and cleanup- times.

Chaos in the Old World is a great FFG game on destruction of the Warhammer Old World.

Puerto Rico and Caylus are excellent city building games. Puerto Rico again is kind of a pain to set up with tons of little pieces.

Mage Wars - this is pretty hardcore game but great. It's like Magic the Gathering, but on arena and doesn't suck like modern MtG.

Space Hulk - it never gets old. Mechanics are genius and it's just so damn pretty. Probably highest quality boardgame ever made.

Descent is a dungeon crawling game which is very tactical and almost endless in its variations. 1st Edition Descent was super fun, but megalomanical, very laborous to set up and play and broke down pretty easy especially the campaign mode was totally broken. 2nd edition and its multiple expansions are much quicker to play but perhaps went to too much of the other extreme in abstraction. Still like 'em.

7th Continent is extremely innovative Lovecraft-themed exploration game. Sadly it's a bit buggy and again massive time-waster, but sheer genius in many ways.

 

 

 

I played Eldritch Horror a while back, that's a good game too.  Puerto Rico is also on my list. I've never played Space Hulk in spite of seeing it everywhere.

17 hours ago, FlyingCanOpener said:

I have Photosynthesis for my classroom, as well as Evolution: The Game and Evolution: The Beginning. The students love The Beginning because it's pretty simple rock-paper-scissors and they get cutthroat with each other in no time. Trying to find high-quality games for my classroom post-COVID so we can have a game for each unit. The kids love it and well-made games do well in teaching the basics of some deep scientific principles.

We also have Munchkin for testing time where they can just play something dumb.

You might want to look into Eccos, which is about making biomes and animals. I played that a bit and it was fun.

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3 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Thanks, Ill have to look into that.

There was apparently a wargame in the late 1980's that also covered the same novel. Im amazed nobody has done any based on 'Sword Point', the same authors novel about a theoretical Soviet Invasion of Iran.

I liked Sword Point better than Team Yankee.  I saw on a FB wargamers page somebody was playing a miniatures battle based on the book. I don't remember the rules. I tried recreating the valley battle from the same book in TacOps, never finished the map though. 

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18 hours ago, Stargrunt6 said:

 BTW, the creator of the legendary miniatures game Fistful of TOWs is making a boardgame version of it.  

Really? The FFOT3 core system would work pretty well as a boardgame......just hope they make the boardgame rules a bit more concise as the FFOT3 tabletop ruleset, with army lists, runs to about 450+ pages long!

Any idea what the boardgame going to be called and what localities its going to cover Stargrunt6? Hopefully not just another WW3 in the Fulda Gap game.   

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50 minutes ago, Captain Hurricane said:

Really? The FFOT3 core system would work pretty well as a boardgame......just hope they make the boardgame rules a bit more concise as the FFOT3 tabletop ruleset, with army lists, runs to about 450+ pages long!

Any idea what the boardgame going to be called and what localities its going to cover Stargrunt6? Hopefully not just another WW3 in the Fulda Gap game.   

 I'm assuming the same name.  And yeah, more ww3 in Germany 1980s.

Here's the pic of the counters:

127061255_3440612889365989_1771513828719

scenario card (he acknowledges the resemblance to another game):

125868440_3437795326314412_2868982351035

map and all

127120515_3445921212168490_1972607773115

 

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4 hours ago, Stargrunt6 said:

I liked Sword Point better than Team Yankee.  I saw on a FB wargamers page somebody was playing a miniatures battle based on the book. I don't remember the rules. I tried recreating the valley battle from the same book in TacOps, never finished the map though. 

I recreated the battle Langen gap on Steelbeasts. My God, but the absolute carnage was heartwarming.

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4 minutes ago, Captain Hurricane said:

Thanks for that Stargrunt6. In the style the old GDW Assault series of games?

Will keep an eye on this one as it develops...

No problem.   

As to what style, not sure since I never played Assault.  I have heard of it before.  I do have GMT's version of MBT burning my bookshelf.  Only played it twice and that was the basic game. 

My only problem with 1980s ww3 wargaming is that thermal imaging really imbalances the game for NATO.

WaW85 has TI as an optional rule and smoke is opaque to everyone. It's one reason why I like the game, it avoids the "almighty NATO" problem.  I'm playing a game solo right now, Joint NVA Red army attack vs US army defend and the WP is winning handedly. 

6 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

I recreated the battle Langen gap on Steelbeasts. My God, but the absolute carnage was heartwarming.

Yo, record it and post it!

Once I learn MBT, I'll recreate aome Sword Point battles.

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if you want all the rules changes that a board game can ever have try Star Fleet Battles by Task Force Games/Amarillo Design Bureau.  A long time ago in college that was legendary for rules changes to the point where it became an in house joke and they released a cumulative and supposedly definitive rule book.  I hadn't thought about it in a long time and recently got out some of my old games.  Then this thread pops up.

I wonder if I can get away with setting up Federation and Empire on the kitchen table?

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I feel like ASL is simple compared to the mechanics of Star Fleet Battles.  I haven't played in years but I can remember making a point to use battery power for simple systems like life support and shields and then run warp power through the batteries to be able to generate an unplanned mid turn speed change.  As far as I could tell the rule book said you could do it (and it was commonly done) but if  you read another section it could easily be interpreted as not doable.  Our group called it legit but when they got to tournament I think someone challenged it.

Later there was a computer version that was based on SFB rules but it left a lot on the table due to interface issues.

DF&E was just a giant math test (fun, but all math)  How many NCL's can I overbuild with this excess production?

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