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Subject: Help Me Decide Between Tile Laying Games! rss

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Lawrence
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Update 9/14/16
Due to overwhelming amounts of recommendations, I ended up going with Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King. We played a game tonight and it was exactly what I was looking for. We timed the rules explanation and it took 4:47. The mechanisms were simple, but what surprised me was the depth of the decisions in the bidding phase. I normally hate bidding games, but this was actually my favorite part of the game.

Watching my clan's island grow was great and my girlfriend told me that she already loved it half way through the first round. The variable scoring is just awesome.



I think we'll be exploring more of these suggestions, as I'm officially intrigued by the tile laying mechanism. Sanssouci, New York 1901, Karuba, and Quadropolis are on the short list. I'll be looking at runthroughs of the others.

Thanks to all who commented!

--------

My girlfriend and I are generally medium-heavy eurogamers. If I'm not building an engine using one of 10 different victory paths with 8 different resources and mechanics, I'm usually half way to tuning myself out.

We'd like to add something to our collection that we can play with other non-gamer couples that won't bore us to tears. Looking through our collection, I noticed that we don't have a tile laying game and thought this would be a nice chance to try one.

Our requirements are thus:
- Deep enough strategy to be enjoyed by heavier gamers
- Rules light enough to be explained in 5 minutes to non-gamers
- Works well 2 - 4 players (most of our gaming is done 2 player)
- Either has a decent catch up mechanic or enough end game so that the winner is not apparent until the end
- Variable goals / powers / board states to give a sense of replayability
- Not overly aggressive (see my Carc comment below)
- Looks great and has a decently integrated theme (see Tigris and Euphrates comment below)

On my list of considerations:
- Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King - Does the bidding still work at 2 player?
- Karuba - How is the replayability of this? I didn't see much in the way of variable elements.
- New York 1901 - I love the look of this and sense of progression, but worry that it might not be deep enough for gamers.
- Sanssouci - Haven't heard much of this, but someone I trust recently recommended it to me. Any thoughts on this are welcome.
- Quadropolis
- Expedition: Northwest Passage


Games I have eliminated:
- Carcassonne - One of our gaming couple friends already has this. It was okay until we realized how utterly aggressive this is. We found ourselves constantly positioning tiles more to screw everyone else over than to score ourselves points. This isn't what I'm looking for in a game to introduce to non-gamers.
- Cacao - Girlfriend looked at the patchwork type board and immediately said "No". Case closed.
- Tigris & Euphrates - Way too abstract and the board is not appealing.
- Limes and Cities - According to a friend, the scoring was way too dense to successfully explain to new gamers.
- Taluva - Too dense for new gamers. Also apparently very mean.
- Samurai - Too abstract.
- Indigo - Too abstract.
- Alhambra - Vetoed by girlfriend. She doesn't like the prevalent orange tinge everything seems to have.
- Castles of Mad King Ludwig - Loses too much at 2p. If I get this, I'm getting the Polish version with better art.
- Patchwork - Not 4p
- The Castles of Burgundy - Have this; not rules light enough for the groups I'm going to be playing with.
- Keyflower - Way too heavy.
- Galaxy Trucker - We absolutely hated our 1 play of this. Neither of us enjoy watching our creations get absolutely demolished without having any real control over it.
- Glen More - Too heavy. Also, OOP.
- Claustrophobia - We don't enjoy ameritrash very much. Does not work for 4p. More aggression than we're looking for.
- Santiago - Doesn't work well at 2p.
- Among the Stars - Sci-fi theme generally doesn't sit well with non-gamers we play with.
- Citrus - OOP or just difficult to get.
- Between Two Cities - Watched a runthrough and it didn't seem as engaging to me.
- Suburbia - A little too heavy. Tried it on ipad and it seemed alright, but not something I needed to own.
- Ginkgopolis - After seeing this so many times on Steph's blog, I'd love it, but it's OOP.
- Lanterns: The Harvest Festival - The runthrough didn't really pique my interest

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WD Yoga
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Have you considered Between Two Cities? It has quite interesting mechanics such as co-operation between two players, drafting, simultaneous play etc.
 
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Lawrence
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Esvath wrote:
Have you considered Between Two Cities? It has quite interesting mechanics such as co-operation between two players, drafting, simultaneous play etc.


Does this work well with 2 players? We do most of our gaming 2 player and would like to be able to play it as a filler when we're not introducing couples to new games.
 
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Zaphod Beeblebrox
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mavericklancer wrote:
- Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King - Does the bidding still work at 2 player?

I find it works fine. And 80% of BGG voters recommend the game with 2.
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Joel Oakley
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Isle of Skye is definitely a good fit -- it is rules light but has some pretty tough decisions to be made. I really enjoy it with just 2 players, but it does lose a little something (just the number of tiles available to choose from perhaps). If your main goal is to have something deep but approachable to play with other non-gamer couples, then I think it is an excellent pick.

One other tile laying game I have been looking at recently is Citrus. I think it would also be worthy of consideration, but I have not played it myself. Right now, getting an import copy (from Miniature Market or Games Surplus for example) is the only option, but I believe Tasty Minstrel Games is bringing it over to the US sometime in the near future.

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Marina SC
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It might be too abstract for you, but how about Samurai? I think the FFG edition looks quite nice.

I think Taluva's rules are pretty easy to explain in themselves, but it might take a second game for someone to understand how to play with some strategy (but games are short, ~20 min if you don't have any APers, so that's not hard to do).
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WD Yoga
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mavericklancer wrote:
Esvath wrote:
Have you considered Between Two Cities? It has quite interesting mechanics such as co-operation between two players, drafting, simultaneous play etc.


Does this work well with 2 players? We do most of our gaming 2 player and would like to be able to play it as a filler when we're not introducing couples to new games.


It has official two players variant and the designer posted another two players variant using automata. I play using the rulebook two players variant just fine.
 
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David B
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Shame your GF so quickly dismissed Cacao. Great little game.

And Tigris and Euphrates is more thematic than people give it credit for. But it takes a few plays to reveal itself even though the rules are quite simple actually. It requires a bit of a commitment to jump into it and if you are not willing, it probably would not be a success.

IMO Isle of Skye is your best bet. It's very good as is at 2 player, but there are some excellent tweaks recommended in the variant forums that make it even better at 2.

Here is the variant (and it works really well; but some have suggested drawing one extra tile instead of two actually works even better):

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1421967/2-player-low-mainten...
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Riley Doyle
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Taluva is a great game but probably a bit too much to teach to non gamers.

Check out Indigo it's got some of the screwage of Carcassonne, but not as much. Easy to teach, doesn't outstay it's welcome, plays good at all player counts, and pretty.

I always play with a hand of 3 tiles, so they players get a bit more choice.
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Mike Jaquette
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My vote would be for Karuba. It's a fantastic little game! One of my gaming buddies and I played 5 games consecutively! The replayability comes from the different tiles drafted each game and the different starting positions of the temples and adventures. This is the game you're looking for!
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Ken Lewis
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What about Lanterns: The Harvest Festival?
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Chris C
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Giant_Monster wrote:


Indeed, what about Lanterns?
 
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Lawrence
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Thanks for all of the great responses. I have edited the OP:

- Taluva was eliminated due to rules density. I've also read that it's a very mean game (not what we're looking for with this)
- Samurai and Indigo are too abstract for our tastes
- Between Two Cities was added to our list of considerations. Does anyone else have input on how well the 2p variant works?

I've watched the Rahdo runthroughs for the games we're considering and my top 3 have come out as:

- Sanssouci - Love the variable goals and intricacies of the path building. Variable player boards increase replayability and it looks like there's a nice variation in strategy.

- Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King - Awesome replayability with 16 different scoring goals. Has the most recommendations and highest ratings. The bidding mechanic looks like it introduces a lot of tough, agonizing decisions, but I can see this being a large source of AP especially at 4p. Can anyone comment on game flow at 4p?

- New York 1901 - Has a great beginner/advanced variation and has the most appealing art (for me). Looks to be the lightest of the 3. Can anyone comment on replayability and depth for this one?
 
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Matt Brown
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RileyD wrote:
Taluva is a great game but probably a bit too much to teach to non gamers.


The summary of rules on the back of the rule book is all you really need to know. It is literally a paragraph of rules. Even the rule book is four pages. How to place a tile, how to place each of the buildings, and then win conditions. That's it. Taluva looks pretty, but it is on the more abstract side.

RE: T&E

It is thematic. It is on the heavier side due to depth of play. I'll also argue theme for Samurai. I get the lack of theme complaint with Knizia, but these aren't two of those games.
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Drew
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Sorry to hear that you had to dismiss Cacao because I prefer it over the ones you are looking at. It also has an expansions that adds a lot of modules for the game.
Karuba quickly became boring for my wife and I, but Isle Skye is a really fun game for 2 players.
 
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Jon Vallerand
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I'd say that for 2-4 players, you go with Isle of Skye, and with 5+, you go for Between Two Cities.
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Matt Brown
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mavericklancer wrote:
- Taluva was eliminated due to rules density. I've also read that it's a very mean game (not what we're looking for with this)


It can be as mean as you want it to be. The game doesn't force you to be.
 
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Rich Charters
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You talk as though 1 tile laying game will be enough! Here are some thoughts:

Build your own tile area:
Castles of Mad King Ludwig - adds a variation on an auction mechanic. Great theme. Beautiful board. You will feel proud of the castle that you create.
Patchwork - 2P only. Nice puzzle aspect. Nice board as you create a quilt. Almost completely non-confrontational.
Keyflower - adds auction, set collection, pick up and deliver, resource management to tile laying. It's theme is a little thin, but the concept is great and it's a nice looking game.
Alhambra -- older game that shows it's age a little. You compete to have majorities in certain tiles in your village. 4 types of currency used to buy tiles. Great game.
The Castles of Burgundy - you use dice to buy tiles to create your estate. Little fiddly (especially the set-up), but good game.

Build a common tile area (more chance of confrontational play):
Takenoko - great theme. Beautiful board. Good gateway game.
Carcassonne: The Castle - 2P only. less confrontation than regular carc...but still enough to keep it interesting. Best version of carc.
Railways of the World - why just lay tiles, when you can lay tiles with railroad tracks on them?!? Add pick up and deliver and some add'l elements.


Real time tile laying:
Escape: The Curse of the Temple - tile laying game that will give you stress...in a good way.
Galaxy Trucker - 1st half of game, use tiles to build a ship quickly. 2nd half of game, watch your ship get destroyed.

Tile laying with resource management:
Eclipse - Tile laying is one aspect of a complete game that includes exploration, combat, technology tree, economy, variable player powers, etc... A little heavy?...Maybe. Worth it?....Yes!

Of the games on your 'consideration list' the only one I've played is New York 1901. I would definitely recommend you play before you buy. Based on the description it was top of my 'wish list.' After I played it once, it fell off my wish list. Nothing wrong with the game, the pieces were nice, but something didn't quite do it for me. Perhaps because at the end we were hovering around 50 points (or whatever the win condition was), but no one wanted to actually pass it until they were confident they could win.

Of you 'consideration list', the game I would most want to play is Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
 
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Ole Richard Tuft
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There's also Glen More. When 2-player aficionado Rahdo filmed his runthrough in 2013, he called it "probably our favorite tile-laying game". It also takes up to 5 players.
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Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Tufturk wrote:
There's also Glen More. When 2-player aficionado Rahdo filmed his runthrough in 2013, he called it "probably our favorite tile-laying game". It also takes up to 5 players.

Glen More is great. I'm not sure I'd want to try to play it with non-gamers though.
 
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Garth Tams
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nbread wrote:
Tufturk wrote:
There's also Glen More. When 2-player aficionado Rahdo filmed his runthrough in 2013, he called it "probably our favorite tile-laying game". It also takes up to 5 players.

Glen More is great. I'm not sure I'd want to try to play it with non-gamers though.


I think the reaction you get from it is either love it or hate it. I love tile laying games, but not so much Glen More and my personal favorite in a two player game is Galaxy Trucker: Anniversary Edition. In fact, I think that this is best with 3, good with 2, and average at best with 4. The planet cards are a little more fair with 2, and the nasty cards still hit you hard. With the Rough Roads Evil Mechanations you can play as hard or mean as you like.

With more players, Among the Stars and Castles of Mad King Ludwig are excellent choices, but a little bland with only 2.

 
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Alexandre Santos
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Claustrophobia is a great tile-laying game, unfortunately only for two players
 
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Evan
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New York 1901 is on my wish list. I have not played it, but in the Dice Tower review, Zee Garcia made it a point to say how the game looked simplistic on the surface, but there was a lot of hidden strategy in the game and you could play it multiple ways, either stick to your own strategy or do a bit of "take that" with your opponent by blocking.
 
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Dan
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+1 Alhambra - works great with 2 players and actually goes up to 6 players. I wouldn't play with more than 4, however, as it gets hard to strategize at higher than 4 players.

Santiago is awesome with 4 or 5 players, but unfortunately not good with less than that.
 
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Matt Logan
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Expedition: Northwest Passage is what you're looking for. However, it's getting harder to come by. If you can find a copy, snag it!
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