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Board Games

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Auswaschbar
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Re: Board Games

Post by Auswaschbar »

Another game I like is Vinci:
Its an empire building / conquest game, but has almost no random elements in gameplay while not being as complex as other games (in terms of rules).
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Caydr
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Re: Board Games

Post by Caydr »

I was thinking about playing Catan to see if I could enjoy these "modern" board games. To date I've never played that many board games, and certainly not ones that involved any real amount of strategy... not in comparison to some of the better PC/DS games anyway.

Then if I liked Catan, I'd try out Puerto Rico and Agricola.

The only reason I've ever bought board games before is that they provide something I can do with other people without requiring them to have some amount of geek knowledge. Otherwise, there's a million PC/DS/Wii games we could play that get rid of the hassle of scorekeeping and all that. If these modern board games have a steep learning curve, the same sorts of people are probable to have difficulty learning them.

Regarding Catan being random to some degree: some randomness isn't necessarily always a bad thing, it helps to keep the game competitive even when one player gets a better start than anyone else, or when one player has a higher skill level. Real life is random too, and lots of things in PC strategy games are random too, like whether a weapon will hit or not and how much damage it will do.

Everything evens out over time, but if you look at things mathematically I think you'll see that adding certain random factors is a positive influence. A very simple way of putting it might be, suppose you have two players, with varying levels of skill in different parts of a game. Let's say that if you could assign those skill levels a numerical value, player one has an average skill level of 20, while player two has an average skill level of 80. The game will probably be one-sided. Add in a random factor, and both skill levels are skewed towards 50, so player one has an adjusted skill level of 35, versus player two's adjusted skill level of 65. Skill will still matter, but it might not be so one-sided now, and both players will enjoy the game more. As long as the influence of luck isn't greater than the influence of skill, the presence of luck factors increases gameplay tension and makes the game enjoyable right to the end rather than causing frustration and "dead game walking" syndrome, as Brad Wardell puts it.

That's the way I look at it anyway.
Last edited by Caydr on 01 Apr 2010, 22:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Beherith
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Re: Board Games

Post by Beherith »

Im also a long time Catan fan, it provides great replay value, along with a very gentle learning curve, with an extremely simple core rule set.
I find that chance is not nearly as big a factor in it as skill, but it mostly rests on diplomacy.

Another we have been playing a whole lot is Call of Cthulhu - Arkham Horror. Its an expensive one, but its extremely worth it for the great cooperative play it provides. Its not about winning, its about surviving.
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I find that games that try to eliminate chance eventually fall into some sort of auction scheme to decide the outcome - and this usually results in drawn out games when you could just roll the damned dice. Auction schemes are too hardcore for most casuals, and in the tradeoff of no randomness versus fun factor, fun inevitably suffers.

Also, the battlestar galactica board game is an extremely well thought out one, which plays insanely well.
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Caydr
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Re: Board Games

Post by Caydr »

Yes, I've heard the Battlestar Galactica game is incredibly well-enjoyed, considering it's a licensed property! The bits and pieces of its gameplay that I've heard about sound very interesting. My only fear is that its presence on my game shelf might cause non-scifi people to be afraid of my taste in other games as well.

"You've got to try this game, Catan!" *pulls Catan out, right underneath Battlestar Galactica, with the whole game pile sitting on top of an anime/manga collection*

"Uh... I think I left my oven on" *runs*
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Gota
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Re: Board Games

Post by Gota »

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Caydr
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Re: Board Games

Post by Caydr »

I know where Black's going next.
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Beherith
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Re: Board Games

Post by Beherith »

Imo Catan is easier to approach, but Battlestar requires more social interaction. It has votes and guess what - some players are Cylons!
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Caydr
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Re: Board Games

Post by Caydr »

That picture you posted is basically the reason I'm afraid to try Catan. From what I understand it's not as complex as what you've got there, but if it's even 25% as complex, I'd rather just pay someone to play it for me and have a nap.
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Pxtl
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Re: Board Games

Post by Pxtl »

Caydr wrote:That picture you posted is basically the reason I'm afraid to try Catan. From what I understand it's not as complex as what you've got there, but if it's even 25% as complex, I'd rather just pay someone to play it for me and have a nap.
Catan is actually very simple. I can explain it here: you have a randomly laid-out hex map of territories. You build on the lines of the hex-map (not the spaces). On each player's turn, the first thing they do is roll the dice - the territories that have that number on them pay out in resource-cards to the player who have towns next to the territory.

Image (img hotlinked)

You then can trade your resource cards with other players, or use the resource cards to buy stuff - "stuff" being roads, towns, cities, or special cards. You can only build towns (which are used to harvest resources) where you have roads, and roads can block other players. So expanding with roads and towns is important.

Various things get you "victory points" (having the longest road, having certain special cards, having cities, etc). The first person to reach the score limit wins.

Everything is self-explained - each player has a little reference card that is the "menu" - how much of X, Y, and Z it costs for each purchase.

That's all. It's not a horribly complicated game. It's as simple as Monopoly. The only thing that makes it a little complex is the set-up, because the hex-map is randomly constructed.

There are a few other features I won't get into, like the offshore trading (those lines on the water) and the Thief (the black counter) but that's the core of the game.

So really, the game is just about claiming turf and trading. Part of the reason that Catan and Carcasonne have caught on so well is that they're *simple*, unlike Ameritrash.

Also, licensed games don't suck, astonishingly, as long as they're aimed at the BoardGameGeek market. Obviously the CSI boardgame is going to stink to high heaven... but the games based on BSG, Doom, and StarCraft all have good reputations. They tend to be more "Ameritrash" - a term for games that focus on combat, clattering dice, and rules, but without going full Wargame... but still good.

Games in the '80s and '90s got horribly baroque - I remember playing Battletech and Bloodbowl and Twilight Imperium and Starfleet Battles. All teh guys who made those games either play pure wargames now, or have moved to computers. Boardgaming has gone back to simplicity. The only way games get horribly baroque now is after 3-5 expansion packs... and Catan's expansions are widely derided as unnecessary complications to a pure, fun game.

That being said, Catan obviously has a positive feedback loop, so I have seen games hit the "dead game walking" scenario.... but merciful death usually comes quickly, and the fact that it's a party game (3-6 players) means that everybody gangs up on the leader.

I live in Hamilton. If I remember right, you live in Brantford. Next time I have a game night, I could give you a call (won't be any time soon though, my wife's gonna pop out a little girl in two weeks).

edit: Caydr, I just remembered, you're into CRPG's right? Munchkin. Munchkin is your game - it's a card game satire of dungeon-crawling.
Google_Frog
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Re: Board Games

Post by Google_Frog »

I like Catan a bit more with Cities and Knights as the game lasts a bit longer and there are many more ways to win. Un-expanded Catan is pretty good too.

I also like Carcasonne as it's simple, short and you've got to think about how to doom others meeple without yours getting doomed.
For example, I'm a big fan of Robo Rally (a game that does have _some_ randomness), but you can only play that one with the most hardcore nerds. In Robo Rally, every turn is a puzzle
Only 'some' randomness? I've had turns where I start on a conveyor belt, pickup my hand and it is FULL OF ROTATES!! Making something that works out of a random and potentially very bad hand is the fun of the game.

I think some randomness in board games works well. Too much determinism leads to excessively long planning stages. Anyway games with multiple sides are very hard to predict as the players all have plans unknown to each other (well, depending on the game).

Has anyone played Power Grid? I think it's a good game that manages to work without much randomness.
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Raghna
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Re: Board Games

Post by Raghna »

Well, I guess I'm a bit too competitive minded in general. That's why I usually don't like playing board games with non-competitive people because I feel like they ruin the game, even if I realize that for them, I'm ruining the game by being too competitive.

Considering what you said about little amounts balancing 2 players of a different skill level, with randomness those 2 numbers, 20 and 80 could just as well go the other way around, influenced by luck, their result might as well become 5 and 95 which then would be quite ridiculously one-sided. And also with 2 players of skill level 45 and 55, if luck is involved, a very tight fight might go to the worse player of the 2.

That being said, I can still enjoy a game of Catan once in a while, I specially enjoy Magic the Gathering but my all time best board game I've ever played really is Starcraft. Yes it takes a while to make tactical decisions Yes it requires a minimum level of intelligence, but the more you play it the quicker the turns go and the more you'll enjoy it. Sadly enough, I know no one irl that reaches my amount of geekness to be a hardcore fan and play it on a regular basis.
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Caydr
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Re: Board Games

Post by Caydr »

Thanks for the offer Pxtl, I might take you up on that. Haha, for some reason I thought Sinbad was the one from Hamilton :lol:

Most people I've talked to say that Seafarers is the best expansion for Catan since it's just straight content that's added, not any major gameplay changes. Knights on the other hand adds a lot of stuff people feel changes the game too much, am I right?
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SinbadEV
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Re: Board Games

Post by SinbadEV »

Caydr wrote:Thanks for the offer Pxtl, I might take you up on that. Haha, for some reason I thought Sinbad was the one from Hamilton :lol:

Most people I've talked to say that Seafarers is the best expansion for Catan since it's just straight content that's added, not any major gameplay changes. Knights on the other hand adds a lot of stuff people feel changes the game too much, am I right?
I have thus far failed to get most people I've attempted to play with to complete a game of Cities+Knights...

meanwhile, you totally need to play Cataan... it's basically easy... random chance is annoying but in all but very few cases fair...

I'm currently partial to games like Fluxx and Munchkin because there is so much randomness it just gets silly, and people don't feel bad for losing but they feel good about winning cleverly... and even better is when someone wins and we all show our hands and rag on the guy who didn't notice he could have won the game on his last turn.

I have a lot of fun with Illuminati (card game version), but again, it's really hard to get enough people willing to spend that "bidding time" pxtl was talking about.

Dominion on the other hand, I have only played once and absolutely loved... it's like they took all those MagicTCG booster-draft/deckbuilding skills and made an entire game out of them.
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KDR_11k
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Re: Board Games

Post by KDR_11k »

American board games are not only complex, they often take very long to play too. A nice thing about many victory point based games is that they have a finite duration and often last maybe an hour or two.
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Pxtl
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Re: Board Games

Post by Pxtl »

I've played Fluxx a few times, and maybe it's the version I've played but I felt like 90% of the game I barely had any meaningful options to speak of - we almost never got to build up a substantial hand/draw/play ratio that would actually let us have more than a card or two in our hands at any given time... which means no actual choice.

As a concept the game is incredibly clever, and I could see it being fun over drinks, but the actual game just produces too little decision making.

Also even Seafarers felt like "well, it added a little... but not really enough to be worth the added complexity".
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CarRepairer
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Re: Board Games

Post by CarRepairer »

Caydr wrote:Thanks for the offer Pxtl, I might take you up on that. Haha, for some reason I thought Sinbad was the one from Hamilton :lol:
No, use your skillz. Look at Sinbad's bus in the DrawYourLife thread. It's the Ottawa bus (which is not near the middle-ish as is stated in his location field. Liar!)

Ontopic: I always found Catan too peaceful. I want to crush my enemies and ransack their sheep and wool and wood and wheat. Knights offered a glimmer of hope but then what, you can't usually kill an enemy knight, you just... push him over? Be gone, other knight! Move that way! The only way to kill a knight was to bullypush him when he's got no more road to move to. Just like knights in real life! I always preferred playing as the pirate ship.
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Pxtl
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Re: Board Games

Post by Pxtl »

I think Catan's peacefulness goes a long way with making it work as a "family" game though. I mean, Catan rarely gets the kind of hateful stares that, say, a game of Risk will garner. Really, the only way to harm another player is to wall them off, or with the careful use of the Thief (or is he called the Bandit? Whatever)... and if a player is winning you've already lost the wall-off game. So really, the only way to gang up on the leader is to deny him resource-trading and to keep the Thief on his turf. Both of those are a hinderance, but not insurmountable obstacles.

Again, I reiterate my support for Cosmic Encounter, particularly the Mayfair Games version. One of the few conflict-oriented boardgames I've played that didn't seem to create animosity between the players.
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Gota
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Re: Board Games

Post by Gota »

Raghna wrote:Stuff about competitive and not competitive players
I think You should try and find players of your level of competitiveness.
If some player is very competitive and another isn't They usually both become frustrated.
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Neddie
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Re: Board Games

Post by Neddie »

I've just started to get into Dominion and 7th Sea, which while technically a TCG might as well be a board game and is quite dead.
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PicassoCT
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Re: Board Games

Post by PicassoCT »

I bought that Risk Game, now i was thinking about Starcraft, but i have to know - can i play that with nonnerds? Its already hard to get my people try something new, now if i introduce something like that - and the game is over halfway through explaining the ruules, i wouldnt invest time or money into it.
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