Werthead

Board games!

140 posts in this topic

On 4/18/2017 at 3:54 PM, Werthead said:

Oh, I want to try Lords of Waterdeep as well. I've heard only good things about it.

Lords of Waterdeep is a strong mid-level worker placement game.  The D&D theme is really kind of just tacked on - my wife has no interest in D&D, but LoW is one of her favorite games.  I will say this - LoW is very good with the just the base game...but when you add the expansion - Scoundrels of Skullport (which is really 2 expansions in one) - it makes it a great game.

Just got to play the latest iteration of Ticket to Ride - Rails and Sails - last night.  It definitely takes the complexity up a notch or two.  I failed to realize the importance of getting the ports on the board, so came in 3rd out of 4 players. 

Saw someone ask about Valeria upthread.  It's a riff on the Machi Koro system - where player collect cards that activate on anyone's die rolls.  For example, if you are the active player and roll an 8, every player that has a card that activates on an 8 gets a benefit - but typically, the active player gets a little bit better benefit.  Machi Koro is a game where you are collecting different districts in a modern city - fun game, but maybe a bit dry.  In Valeria, you use a similar system, but you are hiring adventurers and building fantasy-themed buildings, and then sending your adventurers out to fight monsters.  Good theming, with a very "loose" economy.

For folks who like co-ops, and you find Pandemic too easy - or if you prefer more of a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-type setting - I recommend Salvation Road from Van Ryder games.  In this game, each player has a hero (with a good trait) and a "survivor" (with a negative trait).  Each player is sending their two characters out to collect various supplies to bring back and load onto their truck.  At a certain point, you have to decide to hit the road, trying to make it to the town of "Salvation" - and you have to hope you've gathered enough supplies to make it through the trip.  All the while you are gathering your supplies, you are fighting off unruly gangs, and trying to survive other calamities.  It's a tough game to win.

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I put up an introductory article on board games on the blog.

Interestingly, I see a lot of complaints about the cost as a barrier to getting into the hobby. I agree it can be an issue, but a lot of games are cheaper than video games. The main issue seems to be that a video game may cost you £40+ but you can play it solo (or online from your own home), whilst a board game may cost the same but you can only play it if you have friends who like it. That's where gaming groups, stores with playing areas and clubs come in handy, all easily findable via the Internet.

I agree cost is a problem with something like Rebellion or Forbidden Stars (which go for £80 a pop, the latter a lot more as the stock runs out) but Ticket to RidePandemic and King of Tokyo/New York (all of which I'd saw work well as introductory games) are around £25 each, which is very reasonable.

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I got into board-gaming about 10 years ago and started off with one of the heaviest euros immediately - Agricola. It has since remained one of my favourites with its endless replayability. Other classic euros I like or love are Caylus, Power Grid and Puerto Rico.

Soon after Agricola I landed in the world of Vlaada Chvatil's games. His Through the Ages - A Story of Civilzation (and its recent new edition) and Dungeon Lords are two games I absolutely love. Dungeon Petz and Codenames are quite good too. The only game of his I have a hard time with is one of his most lauded - Mage Knight. 

I tried Descent several years ago, but never liked it. Now after I've tried RPGs for the first time we recently tried Descent (2nd edition) again and I've come to love it. Compared to our RPG sessions it's more fast-paced, more structured and less grinding, with all players feeling like they have something to contribute.

In the cooperative realm we started with Battlestar Galactica, but soon learnt that it truly only shines when you have exactly 5 players. Nowadays it seldom comes to the table. Basic Pandemic was also tried some times with some other friends. 1.5 years ago someone in a Facebook group invited me to join Pandemic Legacy, and 4 of us ripped through it in 2 weeks in the most immersive gaming I've ever had. I then bought it and played through it a second time with my regular game group. I refrained from contributing to strategic decisions and had a lot of fun seeing them experience the story. I've even gone so far that I've watched several groups play through it on Youtube (most notably Dice Tower). I've since bought both Pandemic - Reign of Cthulhu and Pandemic Iberia. Other co-ops I love are the somewhat more stressful and less prone to alpha-gaming: Space Alert (by Vlaada Chvatil) and XCOM. Especially XCOM can really get your heart pumping. On the lighter side Mechs vs Minions was released last year at a (for its content) low price. I'm going to have my first go at miniature-painting with it.

I only tried the gateway games after several years of gaming but I really like both Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne (both have been played hundreds of times on my phone). I've successfully introduced TtR to several family members. Settlers of Catan, however, I only play 1 or 2 times per year. It can be fun in limited doses. 

I'm looking forward to trying Time Stories, Great Western Trail, some more XCOM and Descent, and Pandemic Legacy Season 2 and First Martians in the autumn. 

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Posted (edited)

Are these like board games like where you sit in the same room as other people playing them? As opposed to say playing Monopoly online?

Some of these rpg ones people are mentioning sound like a blast but there's no way I could ever find 3 or more ppl willing to sit in the same room and play them

Edited by DunderMifflin

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1 hour ago, DunderMifflin said:

Are these like board games like where you sit in the same room as other people playing them? As opposed to say playing Monopoly online?

Some of these rpg ones people are mentioning sound like a blast but there's no way I could ever find 3 or more ppl willing to sit in the same room and play them

Yes, these are all board games that come in boxes you play with friends. The genre has moved on quite a bit from Monopoly (which I hate with a fiery passion), although it has also breathed new life into older games as well.

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16 hours ago, Werthead said:

I put up an introductory article on board games on the blog.

Interestingly, I see a lot of complaints about the cost as a barrier to getting into the hobby. I agree it can be an issue, but a lot of games are cheaper than video games. The main issue seems to be that a video game may cost you £40+ but you can play it solo (or online from your own home), whilst a board game may cost the same but you can only play it if you have friends who like it. That's where gaming groups, stores with playing areas and clubs come in handy, all easily findable via the Internet.

I agree cost is a problem with something like Rebellion or Forbidden Stars (which go for £80 a pop, the latter a lot more as the stock runs out) but Ticket to RidePandemic and King of Tokyo/New York (all of which I'd saw work well as introductory games) are around £25 each, which is very reasonable.

Good post!

The key thing for me with board games is to have a solid group of people who also like to board game. It becomes a lot less expensive if everyone in the group only has to buy one or two games a year; you get to try a lot of new games without having to invest a lot of money personally. If you have a good group of 7-8 people, it's even better, since you'll be able to play games for different numbers of player, since it's rare that you'll always get everyone together. So you can play Ticket to Ride if you have four players, or BSG if you have five, or Seven Wonders if you have seven, etc...

I'm also a big fan of board game cafes/bars that have been cropping up recently in North American cities. They're great ways to try a new game if you don't want to spend a lot of money.

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On 4/29/2017 at 8:19 PM, Werthead said:

Interestingly, I see a lot of complaints about the cost as a barrier to getting into the hobby. I agree it can be an issue, but a lot of games are cheaper than video games. The main issue seems to be that a video game may cost you £40+ but you can play it solo (or online from your own home), whilst a board game may cost the same but you can only play it if you have friends who like it. That's where gaming groups, stores with playing areas and clubs come in handy, all easily findable via the Internet.

I agree cost is a problem with something like Rebellion or Forbidden Stars (which go for £80 a pop, the latter a lot more as the stock runs out) but Ticket to RidePandemic and King of Tokyo/New York (all of which I'd saw work well as introductory games) are around £25 each, which is very reasonable.

The initial sticker shock is understandable...but really, even the the higher priced games, running close to $100, are very competitive with other forms of entertainment, in terms of money/hours of enjoyment.  They are much more cost-effective than movies, for example.

On 4/30/2017 at 10:10 AM, DunderMifflin said:

Are these like board games like where you sit in the same room as other people playing them? As opposed to say playing Monopoly online?

Some of these rpg ones people are mentioning sound like a blast but there's no way I could ever find 3 or more ppl willing to sit in the same room and play them

This kind of thing makes me sad.  You can't find 3 other people to "sit in the same room"?  Getting together with friends is - quite honestly - the best part about board gaming, in my opinion.  Yes, I like exercising my brain and being presented with hard decisions - but it's really all about gathering with friends and having fun, free from the electronic tethers we have these days.  

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Oh...I figure I'll post this here on the off-chance anyone is interested.  If you live in the Northern Virginia/Washington D.C. area (or will be visiting), I am hosting an "Unpub Mini" at Island Games in Centreville, VA on May 13 - starts at 11:00 AM.  We have 8 designers bringing their prototype games, looking for feedback from playtesters.

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3 minutes ago, HokieStone said:

The initial sticker shock is understandable...but really, even the the higher priced games, running close to $100, are very competitive with other forms of entertainment, in terms of money/hours of enjoyment.  They are much more cost-effective than movies, for example.

This kind of thing makes me sad.  You can't find 3 other people to "sit in the same room"?  Getting together with friends is - quite honestly - the best part about board gaming, in my opinion.  Yes, I like exercising my brain and being presented with hard decisions - but it's really all about gathering with friends and having fun, free from the electronic tethers we have these days.  

Oh I can find 3+ friends to get together in the same room easy but getting them to ply a board game that they probably already think is nerdy would be pretty impossible.

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Luckily these days Tabletop Simulator is an option if you can't get a real game group together in your area, but it's just not as good as sitting around a table with your friends and playing together. It's like playing D&D on Roll20 rather than in person. Just doesn't compare. 

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2 hours ago, DunderMifflin said:

Oh I can find 3+ friends to get together in the same room easy but getting them to ply a board game that they probably already think is nerdy would be pretty impossible.

Weirdly, I hear a lot of other board game fans having the same experience as me where you assume this is the case, but then gradually you pick out people who are open to it, and before you know it you have a group to play with. I had a habit of buying board games in the early days that I knew full well I wouldn't get to the table, but if you build it.......etc etc. Even now my brain's default state is "oh I'll never get anyone to play this, I don't have a group......except my girlfriend who plays Euro games with me, my other friends who love A Game Of Thrones, my housemates who play Dead of Winter with me, my Mum and stepdad who are into Alchemists......but other than those, I have nobody!" I mean ideally the dream is to have 4/5/6 people who are all open minded enough to play anything, and are available semi regularly. But whoever you can get is still great fun. If only James Bond played Carcassonne instead of Poker, board games might have that sheen of respectableness that poker enjoys......despite not being all that great.

This is a great intro to board games, from the oft mentioned Shut Up and Sit Down:

https://youtu.be/dkdHbmwXV04

(I've displayed it as a link as embedded videos don't work on my iPad....)

I've also come to be fascinated how board games rely hugely on who's playing them. With video games and apps, everything good about them is contained entirely in the software, and one person's experience will be largely like another's. But board games depend on the brains playing as if they are components of the game. Human skills and weaknesses feed into the experience. I was friends with some guys for 10 years and our relationship remained largely the same.......then we played Dead of Winter. Would this guy chip in the fuel he needs for his secret objective to see everyone else win, or would he rather keep it and have everyone lose? Is a group victory a hollow victory for him? How good are these guys at lying to my face? Board games (or good ones at least) find ingenious ways of teasing open these gaps that would ordinarily remain unexplored, and the result is some of the most memorable nights I've had with these people. Far, far more memorable than the evenings I've spent at the pub, or playing online multiplayers with these same people, or most other activities we've spent our years doing.

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8 hours ago, DunderMifflin said:

Oh I can find 3+ friends to get together in the same room easy but getting them to ply a board game that they probably already think is nerdy would be pretty impossible.

Ah...well, that's too bad. If people only think of board games in the sense of "Monopoly", or "Sorry" or other such mass market dreck...they're missing out.

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On 4/29/2017 at 8:19 PM, Werthead said:

I put up an introductory article on board games on the blog.

Interestingly, I see a lot of complaints about the cost as a barrier to getting into the hobby. I agree it can be an issue, but a lot of games are cheaper than video games. The main issue seems to be that a video game may cost you £40+ but you can play it solo (or online from your own home), whilst a board game may cost the same but you can only play it if you have friends who like it. That's where gaming groups, stores with playing areas and clubs come in handy, all easily findable via the Internet.

I agree cost is a problem with something like Rebellion or Forbidden Stars (which go for £80 a pop, the latter a lot more as the stock runs out) but Ticket to RidePandemic and King of Tokyo/New York (all of which I'd saw work well as introductory games) are around £25 each, which is very reasonable.

I don't really agree. Video games usually involve large development teams, and that's why they cost so much. (Board games presumably cost what they do because they are selling a much smaller quantity to a smaller audience.) But these days many, maybe most people buy games at a steep discount. If you don't want to pay the list price, just wait and it'll get cheap. The same tactic with board games usually means it goes out of print and you can't get it at all.

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Settlers of Catan is a great gateway game to get into much better board games out there. I used to play Catan all the time years ago, but now that I play other games, it's hard to go back to it. My favorite games currently are:

  • Sapiens
  • La Isla
  • Smallworld
  • Don't mess with Cthulhu

Don't mess with Cthulhu is a great party game if you have 6 people.

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have you played Settlers with the Cities & Knights expansion? it takes Settlers to a whole other level. playing vanilla Settlers looks like tiddly winks after it.

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9 hours ago, 6649er said:

have you played Settlers with the Cities & Knights expansion? it takes Settlers to a whole other level. playing vanilla Settlers looks like tiddly winks after it.

Yep. I should have prefaced that. Cities and Knights is a great game because it adds more dimensions and ways to win. Haven't played any of the other Settlers expansions, but I've heard Cities and Knights is the best.

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On 4/30/2017 at 5:11 PM, Werthead said:

Yes, these are all board games that come in boxes you play with friends. The genre has moved on quite a bit from Monopoly (which I hate with a fiery passion), although it has also breathed new life into older games as well.

I like the post. I would question Arkham sitting at intermediary, tbh. It's heavy on set up time which can be off putting for those just dipping a toe in more complex games :). I would also ask: Why no love for the humble worker placement Euro?

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