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Subject: Help me decide: Terra Mystica, Agricola, Trajan, PR, Caverna, Orleans, etc? rss

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Andrew
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I have just been getting back into board games. Catan sparked me few years ago and I picked up Castles of Burgundy a few weeks ago and MAN did I enjoy that game! At first it seemed complicated but I got the hang of it by the first round of the first game. I enjoyed CoB a lot but definitely could have easily handled something with more weight. 7 Wonders wasn't a hit with our group, including me.

I'm not overly concerned with weight and complexity, we have a smart group of gamers and learn quickly, I'm looking for a fun Euro to play with 3-5 people. Sometimes 2.

So what should I get next? I'm tempted to buy Terra Mystica as my next game because of it's rave reviews. However, I have a ling list of games to buy based on them being ranked high and compared well with what I'm looking for in a game:

-Terra Mystica
-Agricola Revised Version (a friend of mine has the original, but I have yet to play it)
-Trajan
-Puerto Rico (again, a friend of mine has it, but I have yet to play it)
-Caverna (From what I read, Agricola seems more desirable, but it's on the list for sure)
-Orleans
-La Granja
-Le Havre
-Power Grid (might be lower on my list at this point...)
(Caylus, Tzol'kin, El Grande, and Keyflower are also on my longer list)

Feel free to rank them as well so I can go down my list. Suggestions are also welcome! I plan on purchasing at least 2 games this month to try out.

Thanks!
 
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Justin Fuhrmann
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Re: WSIG? Terra Mystica, Agricola, Trajan, PR, Caverna, Orleans, etc?


-Terra Mystica
-Agricola Revised Version (a friend of mine here has it, but I have yet to play it)
-Trajan
-Puerto Rico (again, a friend of mine here has it, but I have yet to play it)
-Caverna (I think I'd rather get Agricola first, but it's on the list for sure)
-Orleans
-La Granja
-Le Havre
-Power Grid (might be lower on my list at this point...)
(Caylus, Tzol'kin, El Grande, and Keyflower are also on my longer list)


Of the games you have listed, I've played Terra Mystica, Agricola (not the revised one though), Trajan, Puerto Rico, Le Havre, Power Grid,and Tzol'kin. I will admit up front that I am personally not a fan of Uwe Rosenberg. Agricola and Le Havre both have a feed your people element that creates an undesirable level of stress for me. Tzol'kin also has a feed your people element, but it is not as stress creating and there are easy ways to mitigate it through the game. If you liked Castles of Burgundy, I'd probably go with Trajan or Bora Bora, which are both excellent Feld games as well. Bora Bora is my favorite and Castles is my wife's favorite. Both do interesting things with dice as does La Granja from what I've seen. Trajan's central mechanic is the manacala so it plays a little different. If you didn't like 7 Wonders, you might not like Puerto Rico as well, as you each take turns selecting roles that everyone does. While it is certainly a step up from picking a card it's probably on the same level of difficulty. You might try playing your friend's copy first before making that jump. Terra Mystica and Tzol'kin are probably the heaviest of the bunch. Every character in Terra Mystica plays differently. The rules are heavy and a bit overwhelming, but it is quite intuitive when you actually get started. Tzol'kin is all about managing how many pieces you put down at a time to get where you want to be when you have to take them off the board. So you have to plan several turns ahead. You also have to plan ahead in Trajan to do well. I mostly play 2 and all of these games work well with two (you have to use a variant for Puerto Rico). 3-5 shouldn't be an issue with most, though some may cap at 4. Don't recall which ones.

If I were to rank them for you, based on what you said:
Trajan
Terra Mystica
Tzol'kin
Power Grid
Agricola
Le Havre
Puerto Rico

If I were to rank them in order of my own preference:
Tzol'kin
Terra Mystica
Trajan
Power Grid
Puerto Rico
Agricola
Le Havre
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Mihnea Cateanu
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Re: WSIG? Terra Mystica, Agricola, Trajan, PR, Caverna, Orleans, etc?
I was in a similar situation, after discovering Catan I went directly to medium-heavy games. One of my first purchases were Tzolkin and Keyflower and they are definitely fun, but Keyflower is a bit over-rated in my opinion. Tzolkin however is great fun! Later I got Orleans and Agricola and very much enjoy them both.

If I were to buy them again, this would be the order in which I do it:

1. Tzol`kin (great with 2P also) and the Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies is very good, but you can easily enjoy the base game 10-20 times without feeling the need for more stuff
2. Orleans (scales very well, since it`s basically solitaire)
3. Agricola (also scales pretty well, although I don`t like it with more than 3...too long)
4. Keyflower...I`ll give it credit for being one of the few Euros that you can actually play with 6 people without it taking the whole evening.


But you can`t go wrong with anything on your list I think. Well maybe skip Caverna for now, I believe it`s too similar to Agricola to justify its place in such a small collection (for the price of it you can get 2 games that are completely different to Agricola). Good luck and happy game hunting
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HenningK
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Excellent games you have set your eyes on! It is a bit hard to recommend something for you because you probably don't even know yourself what exactly it is you will love about board games. Some of those titles can be quite mean (Caylus, Agricola), some offer auctions (Power Grid, Keyflower), some are rather solitaire (Trajan), some have high player interaction (El Grande, Keyflower), and some have subtle interaction, meaning they seem solitaire at first but are actually very interactive (Puerto Rico, Terra Mystica).

I'd say skip Agricola and Puerto Rico for now if your friends have it. Try them out first and then see if you need them yourself. I will also say that you should skip Caverna for now, as mechanically, it is about 70% the same game as Agricola. The main difference is that Agricola is very tight, harsh and unforgiving, while Caverna feels a lot more relaxed, like a "do whatever you like, everything sort of works"-sandbox. Agricola also has more variety. So if you should like Agricola but think "man, I wish the game wouldn't be quite as punishing", then you know you want Caverna. Agricola also has more variety.

In terms of complexity and weight, El Grande is significantly less complex than most of the others, and also less complex than Castles of Burgundy. Puerto Rico and Power Grid are about the same complexity as CoB, with the others mentioned being more complex (significantly so in the case of Le Havre, Terra Mystica and Agricola).

Just for fun, I will list those games in order of my personal preference, which will probably mean nothing to you, but it seems like fun anyway.

BEST:
Terra Mystica
Agricola
Caylus
Puerto Rico
Power Grid
Keyflower
El Grande
Le Havre
Trajan
Caverna
Tzolk'in
Orleans

I haven't played La Granja.

Other games you might want to take a look at: Spyrium, Imperial Settlers, Hansa Teutonica, The Voyages of Marco Polo, Lewis & Clark.

Have a good time and enjoy tumbling down the rabbit hole!
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Claudio Coppini
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Frankfurt am Main
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If you have enjoyed The Castles of Burgundy that much than you might be suffering from what is commonly known as "points salad fever"...congratulations! You're probably gonna like most of Feld games!

Speaking of which, I'd say go for Trajan. It's one of the first board games I got and I LOVE it (plays only up to 4 though), it has the most fun and interesting action selection mechanic I've ever seen so far.
 
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G.Daddy.Slim
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forget that list, just get Dominant Species. You can thank me later.

If it has to be one on your list, It should be Terra Mystica.
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Matt Brown
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Get plays of Agricola and Puerto Rico in. Decide how much you really need them if friend already has them. I tend to find I don't.

Outside of the wheels, there's nothing all that interesting about Tzolk'in. I found Terra Mystica far more interesting.
 
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Brian Berger
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For my money Terra Mystica is hands down the best game on that list of great games. Concordia is another I would recommend. At the moment, those two sit atop my favorite game list. Either way is sounds like you are in for some good times. Enjoy!
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David B
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In these parts, if you put those games in a list and ask which is best, you will get nothing even remotely approaching a consensus. If anything, you will be even more confused than before. You are much better off looking up videos and deciding for yourself.
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Ray
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I like this ranking system on here...here would be my recommendations:

-Terra Mystica: it's great because the scale of economy and the powers keep it fresh

-Agricola Revised Version: your friend has a great version. You are missing some cards in the revised edition, but it's some of the more confusing ones. Agricola is superior to Caverna if the following is important to you: game tension, variability with the cars and game tension (twice for a reason). Caverna is stripped down Agricola with little tension and everyone can just do their own thing. I keep Caverna in hopes that it will make Agricola players!)

-Trajan: the best Feld for me! The board is 6 different 'mini games' in which you are trying to get points. The way you select those mini games is an awesome mancala system. It is brilliant!

-La Granja: this game is one that I've played solo only, but love it. You have cards that can be used 4 ways and then you pick resources from a great dice selection. To me, it's a great game and it's only rival for being a relaxing style Euro is Viticulture.

-Le Havre: A great game that is best at 2 or 3 (don't play 5...you'll be there all day). You have one worker, but some great decisions to make with the building cards. Still have some tension for feeding (it is a Rosenberg game afterall), but I think it's one of his top designs. If you do have a liking to Caverna....Fields of Arle is another great one. It is Caverna and La Havre combined for 2 (soon to be 3 with the expansion) players. Like Caverna: LOTS of bits!!!

-Puerto Rico: I honestly would suggest San Juan, which is the card version of this game. It is one of my top card only games. Plays quick and is very fun.

-Caverna: My first Rosenberg experience. I really liked it, but was shown Agricola afterwards and fell in love with that. Still a gamer's game...but too loose. Everyone can pretty much do anything. If that is appealing to you or someone you play with...go for it! Agricola is not for everyone!

-Orleans: this is a good game. But for me, the main enjoyment was doing the bag building and not really playing the game.

-Power Grid: I really don't care for Power Grid. Owned it, learned it, ditched it.
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Jason
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All excellent games. Terra Mystica is tops for me, but not with two players.

Don't overlook Concordia...
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Greg
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pfctsqr wrote:
In these parts, if you put those games in a list and ask which is best, you will get nothing even remotely approaching a consensus. If anything, you will be even more confused than before. You are much better off looking up videos and deciding for yourself.

Yeah, pretty much this. Without anything else for us to go on, it's going to just come down how much people like the game or not. If you want a consensus on that, you can just see how they rank in the BGG top 100. As it is, every one of these games are ranked highly, so many people enjoy them. I think you're safe with any of these games until you know more about your gaming preferences.

Since you did mention player count, I can give a run down of that though.

Power Grid technically plays two player, but not very well. Trajan, La Granja and Orleans only go to four player.

You said your friends have Agricola and Puerto Rico so maybe you could hold off owning those since you have access to them. Caverna is very similar to Agricola. You'll get disagreements as to which one is better, but I think they are close enough that you can cross Caverna off the list, since you can play you friend's copy of Agricola, alhtough all three of those game do work well from 2-5 players. I believe there is a 2 player variant of Puerto Rico on the forums that I heard works well, but I have not played myself.

That leaves Terra Mystica and Le Havre on your list. It comes down to player count. Terra Mystica is not as good at two player. Le Havre gets long and can be frustrating at 5 player and is not really recommended.

In your add-on games at the end there, from a purely player count point of view, Keyflower works quite well from 2-6 players.
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Bob Boberson
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Look no further than Brass!

Of those you mentioned Le Havre and Caverna are my favourites (although my all time favourite Rosenberg is Fields of Arle).
Trajan isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I liked it fine the couple of times I played it.
Agricola's very mean, and you can get screwed if you get cards that don't work very well together.
Puerto Rico only really works if all the players are equally skilled.
Powergrid's great if you like number crunching.

As for player count I almost exclusively play 2 player only. The Puerto Rico 2 player variant is quite good. Power Grid's okay, and there's a 2 player variant here that is interesting. Le Havre works great with 2, and the Brass 2 player variant is especially good imo.

Food Chain Magnate is well worth checking out too, although I don't think that works quite so well with 2.
 
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Justin Fuhrmann
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If you decide to go with Power Grid, you should really look at Power Grid: The Robots. It makes the 2p game MUCH better.
 
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Matt Brown
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s3kt0r wrote:
Caverna is very similar to Agricola. You'll get disagreements as to which one is better, but I think they are close enough that you can cross Caverna off the list


If they don't like the stress factor of Agricola, Caverna is certainly worth a look. Granted, Rosenberg only really made Agricola as a tight game so there are other options for more open play and being less Agricola like.
 
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David Aldinger
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Best advice I can give is to go with the game with the theme and/or mechanisms that interest you the most. For many of these, the theme is wafer thin, but sometimes it's the only thing that differentiates them. Go to the pages of games you like and try to match up similar game classifications from the right sideboard.

It's similar to someone going to a movie because it has their favorite actor in it or a favorite director did it.

Also, go to the individual pages and really, really take seriously the player count recommendations. I can't tell you the number of times a game took too long or was too chaotic from too many players or the board was too wide open or you couldn't get the proper mix of tiles or cards out because you had too few. Many a world class game was ruined because of too many or too few players. Also, if you want a game that plays well at 2, buy a game that is specific for 2 player. Much more satisfying.

Lastly, figure out what level of player interaction you enjoy.

If your friends already have the games, play those first. Figure out what you like first, then buy games that match your present tastes.


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Alicia
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I love Agricola, but I would suggest trying your friend's copy before buying, to make sure it's your style of game. If you find it too stressful/tight, but enjoy the feel of the game, you might like Caverna as an alternative.

Tzolk'in you can try out on boardgamearena.com, which might be a neat way to see if you enjoy it!

Puerto Rico is on there as well. If you want to play a turn-based game of either sometime, PM me, and I would be happy to play with you.

Trajan is also available on Boiteajeux.net, and I could play with you sometime on there as well, if you're interested.

Le Havre is also a great game I have played on iOS, and I can't wait to play my copy of Terra Mystica.

Really, it's hard to say, as there are ALWAYS games I want, and even after buying one, I yearn for another. You'll probably feel the same way. Enjoy whatever you get!!

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Matt Stokes
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I will throw in my no help opinion too.

I have only played Terra Mystica on your list and it is my favorite game out of all I own. If someone came to my house and said "I want to play a game, any game, your choice." I'd pick Terra Mystica.

Actually, looking at the 40 games I own and my ratings on them. Terra Mystica is my only 9. I think I'll bump it to 10.
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Andrew
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Thanks guys. I really appreciate the well thought out replies.

I ended up pulling the trigger on Terra Mystica. I'm going to play it along with Agricola and Puerto Rico over the next few weeks to see where I'm at and then go from there.

Definitely have all the others on my list to buy plus some more you guys suggested. Can't wait to scratch the itch and try it out!
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Dan Mansfield
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Great choice with Terra Mystica. To really get a feel for it and be able to teach it to others, I recommend playing a few solo games, playing four different factions.

Also: The Fire and Ice expansion includes a separate turn order board so that each round, players take turns in the order that they passed on their turn the previous round. That tweak isn't included in the base game, but a lot of people will play it that way regardless.
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Terra Mystica is the correct choice. If I could save one game from a burning house, I'd choose Terra Mystica.
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all those are great, own most myself.
I do like two-player options, and CoB is one of our favourite. Second for that length/difficulty is Glass Roads in our collection.
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Andrew
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Does anyone have any suggestions from this list which games provide effects like the yellow tiles in CoB?

I guess one might describe this aspect as "special power" cards/tiles or asymmetry aspects that give a play abilities to alter the game in some way or get extra moves, special bonuses, etc.

La Granja
Trajan
Le Havre
Troyes
Marco Polo
Roll/Race for the Galaxy
Terraforming Mars
Agricola Revised
Puerto Rico
Concordia
Viticulture Essential Edition
Tzol'kin
Caverna
Mombasa
Fields of Arle
Brass
Caylus

Thanks!
 
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John Burt
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Veritas0Aequitas wrote:
Does anyone have any suggestions from this list which games provide effects like the yellow tiles in CoB?

I guess one might describe this aspect as "special power" cards/tiles or asymmetry aspects that give a play abilities to alter the game in some way or get extra moves, special bonuses, etc.

La Granja
Trajan
Le Havre
Troyes
Marco Polo
Roll/Race for the Galaxy
Terraforming Mars
Agricola Revised
Puerto Rico
Concordia
Viticulture Essential Edition
Tzol'kin
Caverna
Mombasa
Fields of Arle
Brass
Caylus

Thanks!


Most (or all? I haven't played every one) of these games are "engine builders", where you acquire abilities that make your moves more and more powerful. In most (or all), players can acquire different abilities (or same but in different quantities), creating asymmetry. Examples: occupations in Agricola, farm improvements in La Granja, buildings in Fields of Arle and Puerto Rico, tech cards in Terraforming Mars, etc. Many of these games start players with asymmetrical abilities, Marco Polo being an extreme example.
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Chris Knapp

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It's really hard to decide which of those games to buy but I will throw in my two cents. I try to avoid buying games that have too many overlapping mechanics, so my recommendations would be the following:

-Terra Mystica
-Agricola
-Power Grid

Trajan is also a fantastic game but I think if you have Terra Mystica it isn't essential.
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