Scratch That Itch - Alternatives to that Grail Game
Ava Jarvis
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Bainbridge Island
Washington
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So I was inspired by a recent Dice Tower podcast where Tom Vasel answered a question about whether if one should, on a limited budget, seek out those games that one MUST PLAY at severe cost (especially for the unpublished games or those hard to obtain).

And Tom said (and I think this was great) that no, not if you're on a limited budget. There are games that are similar to what you want, in either mechanic or theme (or, if you're lucky, both).

A Geeklist that assists in such replacements, I thought, would be rather valuable.

So add games that you're seeking replacements for -- to scratch that itch -- and suggest replacements, or hopefully have others suggest replacements for your games made of unobtainium.

(Hmm. It occurs to me that there are some gaps here that could be fulfilled by intrepid game designers. Just a thought.)
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1. Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:270] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Ava Jarvis
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Sadly no longer widely available, there are a few base sets scattered here and there, and growing increasingly scarce and expensive. Especially if you want expansions, which can be quite difficult to get.

Tom Vasel suggests to instead try Duel of Ages II for a similar feel of timelines and worlds crossing and colliding, and which packs a huge punch even with only the base set, which is the equivalent of Heroscape's "Rise of the Valkyrie" plus the first three expansion waves.

For an alternative that's even easier on the wallet, I highly recommend Summoner Wars. There's just the special abilities, hit points, plain old battling feel that's not a wise strategy in Duel of Ages, but is highly reminiscent of most Heroscape scenarios. Other additions, like spells, are quite welcome. There's no varying landscape, unlike Duel of Ages, but the characters feel like Heroscape characters---albeit the teams are thematically similar, missing out on that chaotic army drafting feel of Heroscape.

Both alternatives lack minis, but minis bloat price at any rate.
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2. Board Game: Magic Realm [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:929]
Ava Jarvis
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Oof.

The depth of this game is supposedly unequaled by anything else ever made, ever ever ever. And I have no doubt of this. However, if you don't have $100 - $200 handy, this is rather a painful to the wallet game to obtain.

I'd suggest Return of the Heroes, but that itself has become a grail game.

I'm pondering over what captures the sense of exploration that is so vital to both games, plus generous dollops of character development/leveling and monsters to fight, quests to deliver and/or overcome---almost immersive. And soloable.

And so far I've come up with Mage Knight Board Game. It's a bit complex, but so is Magic Realm, and I'd actually put Mage Knight at lesser complexity than Magic Realm. There's quite a bit of space demanded by Mage Knight, but that's true of the other two options as well.

I'm not sure what an even softer to the wallet option would be; anybody have any suggestions?
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3. Board Game: Ad Astra [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:898]
Ava Jarvis
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Bainbridge Island
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Getting this game hurt me. There was the out-of-print price of the game, but it's so heavy that I got, basically, double-charged.

What should I have sought otherwise?

Well, one of these days, Alien Frontiers will get back into print and end its current semi-grail state of affairs, but apart from the spaaaaace theme, it's not at all similar to Ad Astra.

I could go back to Settlers of Catan (in particular Star Trek: Catan) but there is something about Ad Astra that is just different enough that this exchange feels not as satisfactory. However, in a world of imperfect matches, this may be the best that one can do.
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4. Board Game: Starship Catan [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:810]
Ava Jarvis
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This transmuted to unfortunate unobtainium over the years.

To replicate some (but not all) of its Kosmos 2-playery spaaaace feel I recommend Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League. Perry Rhodan is a delivery game with some ship upgrades, though resource allocation is not present.

I wish this could come back in print. It's a wonderful little game.
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5. Board Game: Odin's Ravens [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1065]
Ava Jarvis
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This game skated out of print, and then the Kickstarter to reprint it, um, imploded in a rather spectacular ball of flames, fraud, and stalking.

Recapturing in some manner the adorable racing quality of this game is difficult. I don't have a recommendation; do you?
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6. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:884]
Suzanne
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Issaquah
Washington
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I know my game group would love this one. But no way do I want to pay eBay prices for it.
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7. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:945]
Lee Frank
United States
Bloomfield
New York
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My grail game. A goofy kids game about Wolverines and eggs. Could buy a bowl and some marbles and try and do print and play, but really want the original. Supposed to be a reprint sometime this year... Hopefully...
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8. Board Game: Divine Right [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:2483]
Charles Lucas
United States
Gladwyne
Pennsylvania
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Rumors abound of a rerelease this year but that does not help me right now.

No matter how may times I slice it I just can't spend the current asking price for this beauty.

Any suggestions on a replacement with a similar theme, mechanic, and mapboard?

Thanks.
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9. Board Game: Ra: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1112]
1 Lucky Texan
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Arlington
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probably not exactly on topic so, sorry for that.

I'm a relative noob and would like to add a 'dice roller' to my collection. Just wondering what 1 or 2 other games might compare to Ra ?
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10. Board Game: Flowerpower [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2420]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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This is an excellent and engaging 2-player game, and it has a unique setting and colorful art. I wish someone would reprint it. I can't think of another game that's close, but maybe someone else will suggest something.
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11. Board Game: Aliens [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:1765]
suPUR DUEper
United States
Villa Hills
Kentucky
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Solid game, great movie, not available.....

Help!
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12. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:339]
Mike Minutillo
Australia
Stratton
Western Australia
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This is my current grail game but probably more for the theme.
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13. Board Game: Gunslinger [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:1526]
Mohit Goel
India
Mumbai
Maharashtra
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Havent found any other game that captures the theme and mechanics of this one.

Hope there is a reprint.
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14. Board Game: Princes of the Renaissance [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:585]
Ivan Myers Jr
United States
Baton Rouge
Louisiana
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This game was a friend of mine's grail game and I got a chance to play it a couple times after he finally traded for it. I loved it! Quickly became one of my favorite games. Unfortunately it seems that this game is nearly impossible to come by.

Never played anything quite like it, any replacements out there?
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15. Board Game: Witch's Brew [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:680]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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Witch's Brew came out just as I was getting into the hobby before I found out how quickly things can go from readily available to expensively out of print... So I never picked up a copy and now its pretty much too late.

The interesting part of the game is simultaneous hand building then selecting which cards to play while people either follow your action (to get a lesser benefit) or usurp it (though possibly have their ability blocked in return). The back end is a bit of a Euro resource converter but the card play looks like a lot of fun.

I picked up Libertalia as a possible replacement and the card play is pretty interesting... but I wonder if both the card play and scoring are substantially more random than WB or if I just don't like this kind of game after all. Glass Road might be another way to go with similar card play but a more robust tableau/scoring system.
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16. Board Game: Warhammer Quest [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:655]
Michael Brown
United States
University
Mississippi
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Looking for a dungeon crawler with a classic feel, random (or semi random) layouts and cooperative play (most crawlers seem to operate 1 v. all).

I will never be able to justify pulling the trigger on this one at an average price of $350.00.
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17. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:215]
GeJayGe
United States
Windsor Hills
California
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Some say Rex, some say no way. I am curious what people think is the best substitute.

I am largely interested in this theme too, so I am likely out of luck.
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18. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:179]
Michael Brown
United States
University
Mississippi
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More for others than for myself, but I could never seem to find a "simple" war game like this aside from Battle Line itself. And while not super expensive, it can be sometimes difficult to track down a copy (especially if you are trying to trade for it). There's something nice about the simple rows and formations, yet deeply strategic. Games like Hera and Zeus and Stratego have a similar mechanic, but a different end and different amount of things to work on the table.

Other two (or more) player war games that rely on cards and played formations to resolve the majority of their skirmishes? Maybe the ability to move cards to change values as a part of play?
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19. Board Game: Key Market [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:1417]
Roel van M.
Netherlands
Tilburg
The Netherlands
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This is the game I would really like to have, but prices are very high for a used copy.
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20. Board Game: Manila [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:614]
BJ Shoemaker
United States
Lakeland
Florida
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I've never played it, but I accidentally watched the dice tower review of the game and it sounded like so much fun. I'll take any recommendations that'll play similar in complexity and feel.
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21. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:271]
Kolby Reddish
United States
Nampa
Idaho
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Hopefully I won't have to spend the $$
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22. Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:344]
William Bekking
Canada
Kanata
Ontario
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I've never played this one, but have read the rules and watched some videos. It seems like a great game, but far too expensive.
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23. Board Game: Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:545]
Benjamine Allen
United States
Grand Ledge
Michigan
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Anybody have any suggestions for this one? I have no clue but I do consider this one of my grail games.
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