GCL Swedish Meatballs #192 — Games Replacing Other Games
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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Introduction
Welcome to this week's Swedish Meatballs discussion list, episode #192. The Meatballs are a division of BGG's GameChat League, where groups of geeks blabber in a semi-open format quasi-intelligently (and sometimes even intelligently) about topics they find interesting. Civil comments from non-members are fine and even encouraged, but only members should add items, usually your weekly games played or anything else you find interesting to add.

The Wiki page for this GCL group is here, and you can find its subscription list here. Enjoy!



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bnordengup next
Jugular
ellephai
Hanibalicious
Osirus
Jythier
fateswanderer
sgosaric
Sorp222
AAArg_ink
smorange
chearns
qwertymartin
lacxox
cymric



This week's topic
I've been busy adding comments to most games which still had these pending (over 40, to be exact), and it sort-of struck me that I found myself writing down something like 'This game is a reimagining of older title X' or 'The idea behind this game has been re-used by much younger title Y' on a number of occasions. A subsequent step is then recognising which of the two is appreciated more, and 'fire' the other. There is a very famous geeklist where BGG denizens can add their own pairings, often causing mild amusement when game X first fires Y, and then finding another entry where it is the other way around. This formed the inspiration for this week's list: Games Replacing Other Games.

The list is structured around mechanisms, with one token game acting as 'yardstick' so to speak. In the comments write down which game has replaced the token game for you as far as the indicated mechanism is concerned, and why. I've added a few titles which struck me as possible improvements and/or degradations of the mechanism in question, but these titles are not meant to be exhaustive. Or simply agree with my initial choice, explaining why you think it still hasn't been done in a better way. Can it even be done in a better way? Indicate whether you would go as far as to sell off one of the games had you owned both. Or that you're done with the mechanism and don't care either way.

It bears repeating that I'm not looking for a straight 'Game A is better then game B'-discussion: no, the focus should be on the mechanism. And this is harder than it first appears because clear mechanism alterations aren't that widespread! On that note I point out that owing to their seminal nature a number of classics will apear on this list; again please try to look past the usually impressive accolade of 'being first'.

At the end, in the empty item, pick an example from your favourite cultural endeavour (movies, music, literature, art, ...) and repeat the procedure.
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1. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:55]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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(AREA) MAJORITY

Possible contenders: Louis XIV, Londonderry & Borderlands, Municipium, ...
 
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2. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:14642]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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AREA CONTROL w.r.t. DUDES-ON-A-MAP
(it's not really a mechanism, I know, but it helps narrowing things down)

Possible contenders: Nexus Ops, Quantum, Cyclades, Vinci/Small World, Carcassonne, ...
 
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3. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:208]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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STOCK

Possible contenders: 18xx, Reef Encounter, Imperial (yes, that's bonds, I know, but I'm lumping the two together), Union Pacific, Stephenson's Rocket, ...
 
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4. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:271]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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RESOURCE CONVERSION

Possible contenders: Neuland, Le Havre, Glass Road, ...
 
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5. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:218]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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ACTION POINT ALLOWANCE
(actually a bit of a weak entry, now that I think of it)

Possible contenders: Java, Mexica, Hansa, ...
 
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6. Board Game: Clans [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1140]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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HIDDEN ROLES

Possible contenders: Incognito, Familienbande, The Name of the Rose, Citadels, ...
 
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7. Board Game: Aladdin's Dragons [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:844]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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BLIND BIDDING

Possible contenders: Fiji, Chocolatl, Queen's Necklace, Strasbourg, ...
 
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8. Board Game: Antike [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:568]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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RONDEL

(Strictly speaking, limited action selection based on a previous choice. But what the heck.)

Possible contenders: Navegador, Vinhos, Tashkent, ...
 
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9. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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WORKER PLACEMENT

Possible contenders: The Manhattan Project, Russian Railroads, Drum Roll, Tournay, ...
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10. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:119]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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AUCTION

Possible contenders: Ra, Metropolys, Medici vs. Strozzi, Pizarro & Co., ...
 
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11. Board Game: Manila [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:623]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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COMMODITY SPECULATION

Possible contenders: Locomotive Werks, Steel Driver, Indonesia, ...
 
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12. Board Game: Inca Empire [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1081]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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ROUTE BUILDING
(a difficult entry because, well, a route's a route!)

Possible contenders: Ticket to Ride, Age of Steam, Cavum, Milestones, ...
 
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13. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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DECK BUILDING
(I feel a tad apprehensive in adding this as y'all probably know I'm not particularly fond of the mechanism due to its execution. So my list of possible contenders is very, very short. You are cordially invited to fill in the gaps.)

Possible contenders: Hyperborea, ...
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14. Board Game: Yahtzee [Average Rating:5.29 Overall Rank:15342]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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DICE ROLLING
(in particular when rolling more than 2 dice simultaneously)

Possible contenders: A Fistful of Penguins, Yspahan, Troyes, Stone Age, ...
 
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15. Board Game: Genoa [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:503]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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NEGOTIATION (suggestion by our Justus)

Possible contenders: Chinatown, Quo Vadis, Cité, ...
 
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16. Board Game: Sjoelen [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:3844]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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DEXTERITY: FLICKING (suggestion by our Justus)
(Raise your hand if you've ever played the pictured game.)

Possible contenders: Crokinole, Carrom, Ascending Empires, ...

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17. Board Game: Leaning Tower of Pisa [Average Rating:4.29 Unranked]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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DEXTERITY: STACKING (suggestion by our Justus)

Possible contenders: Villa Paletti, Jenga, Hamsterrolle, Mikado (= unstacking meeple), ...
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18. Board Game: Zendo [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:701]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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DEDUCTION (suggested by Lori)

Possible contenders: Sleuth, Inkognito: The Card Game, ...
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19. Board Game: Niagara [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1098]
 
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
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PICKUP AND DELIVER (suggested by Lori)

Possible contenders: Merchant of Venus, Hansa, Finca, ...
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20. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:256]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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TABLEAU BUILDING (suggested by Hanibalicious)

Possible contenders: 7 Wonders, Race for the Galaxy, ...
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21. Board Game: DIY-opoly [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
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Underneath this item you can add your own replacement from your own favourite cultural endeavour. Amaze us with your eruditeness in the topic. Alternatively, stick to boardgames. Or cardgames. Or RPGs. Or even videogames, where I'm sure a number of interesting examples lies in wait to be mentioned.
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22. Board Game: Patchwork [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:57]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Tuesday: games night at Adam and Hannah's

We started with an 8p round of continuous Pairs, fun as usual.

Adam was interested in learning Impulse and I corraled Andrew, who has played several times, too. Adam made a great job of his first play and was poised to win at 14-12-10 and with 4 sector core gates occupied. But then Andrew jumped past him to 18 and I scraped together 10 points (mostly from a double-boosted trade) for victory. Adam had doubted the time I'd spent investing in minerals in the early game but they turned out to be crucial for putting together a super-turn at the end.

Next was Port Royal, for the first time in a while. I just squeaked out a win.

Finally, Timeline, in which all but one of us finished on the same turn.

Friday/Saturday: at home

I was quite taken with my first play of Patchwork and the suitability of the theme for Sarah pushed me over the edge into ordering it. We got a couple of plays in over the weekend. Sarah won the first easily, assembling a perfect 7x7 quilt scarily quickly - must be the professional training! I managed to get revenge in the second though, by starving her of button income. Sarah liked it but commented that it doesn't have anything to do with real-life quilting. She's quite right - it's an economic engine-builder in a charming disguise, and I think it might be Uwe's best game in years.
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23. Board Game: Oware [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:4980]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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So a few plays in person and then a ton of plays on the iphone.

In person (all 2P with wife, except Urbion)

Cribbage, I've plateaued to a certain skill level and I think it will take quite an effort to get better, I'm not sure I have the energy to do so. will need to think about it.

Aquarius, wow, with the 2P variant noted on the forums, this game is excellent. Looney Labs puts out interesting stuff, but like many all(?) self publishing houses, their stuff is lacking that last 5% of development to make it great. That said, the 2P pisces variant makes for a really fun filler tile laying game.

Just one play Urbion, lovely as before, but I'm not sure why people think its better than Onirim. It feels like a very dry patience game. But damn, gorgeous art

Oware, twice with the wife. She didn't enjoy it. Unfortunate cause I love the game.

More fortunate, she enjoyed our play of 9 men's morris, though not enough to play a second time this weekend. I really want to try Lasker's variant with her (where the place/move phase distinction is removed)

On pocket computer

While on the Mancala kick...Kalah the one that is often called mancala. I've run into a good AI on the iphone so its a nice challenge. All the following games are on the iOS app "Mancala Club" which is actually pretty good inspite of its very crude graphics.

Oware, played quite a bit, but I think I've tapped out on that one, I'm better than the hard setting and I'm also better than the other folks online on that app.

Ayoayo, a completely hectic manacala game where each turn you keep sowing seed pods until you finally land in an empty one. Had a good argument with Jugular on whether its "completely different" from Oware. Still of the opinion that it is very much so. And like all good internet arguments, I think he is still of the opinion it is not. I suspect it hinges on how you define "completely" different.

Bohnenspiel, a german mancala game that I would like to explore a bit more, but it is somewhat similar to Oware.

Um El Bagara , a 2x5 Mancala game where the direction you sow is based on the pod you take. Its an interesting one, a bit hectic like Ayoayo though like ayoayo I suspect one that would become a lot less crazy with experience.

And then back to Japan....

Go, not as much as before, I just got caught up with some of these other games but still a few plays.

Gomoku, yeah its solved and all that, but damn I like n-in-a-row games and this one is a lot of fun. I love that moment of surprise/delight when someone (in this case 90% of the time the AI) gets that open 4 in a row.

Let's Catch the lion. Found a good app for this game and have been playing it quite a bit. For a 3x4 board there's a lot of play here. It definitely confirms my opinion that I really do prefer my abstracts light.

Morris - found a windows program from Dirk Farin which is now kicking my ass. Unfortunately it requires me to sit in front of the desktop. However, I do love the fact it has lasker's morris. Along with 3,6,12 men's boards. I'm not sure if in 2009 there was such a strong AI why all the iphone apps suck so hard.

A game of Checkers against the phone. And Xiangqi too. God I suck at these dudes on a grid game.
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24. Board Game: Android: Netrunner – Order and Chaos [Average Rating:8.38 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.38 Unranked]
Andrew
United States
San Francisco
California
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Well, I'm back gaming again, and playing lots of Netrunner...

I finally got to try Machi Koro: Harbor, and while the game is a touch long and a touch random for me, the new drafting system and buildings make it much more interesting than the base game. I took a close second place (of sorts) in a 4p game.

I finally got Roll for the Galaxy and it's a potential RftG replacement for me, given how much I've played the card game. It's a pain to carry around though.

Hanabi is always good for a laugh, if you don't play it too seriously.

Red7 (basic rules) turned out to be quite fun - short and snappy - though maybe that's because I won both rounds.

I played Android: Netrunner 24 times this week, 7 of them online. The newest deluxe expansion was just released for the two weakest factions (Weyland and Anarch), and it's done a good job of bringing them up to par - in fact there are now a few Anarch builds so dangerous that you have to "tech" (specifically deckbuild) against them.

A tournament was responsible for 8 of the games; I played my older Industrial Genomics deck and the new MaxX identity, and ended up in the middle of the pack.
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25. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1212]
David P
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Love Letter
Cockroach Poker
Modern Art
One Night Ultimate Werewolf x5
Cosmic Encounter
Mexica
Tigris & Euphrates

Saturday I had some lawyer friends over for food and games. We started with Love Letter while waiting for the others to arrive. It had been a long time since my last play of Love Letter! It didn't take long for the others to arrive, so we quickly moved on to a game of Cockroach Poker. After that, we went with Modern Art. The two couples teamed up so that we could play a 5p game. I won, but not by much. No one made any particularly bad/crazy evaluations. I think the so called fragility of the game is overblown.

We moved on from Modern Art to One Night Ultimate Werewolf and played several times. Lawyers are a fairly logical bunch, and ONUW is more of a logic puzzle than anything else, so the humans won most games. But one of my friends, Leona, managed a solo win as a werewolf with a very convincing lie that no one else was in a position to dispute. We also played a few times with the Minion and Tanner, which creates alternate victory conditions, something I always enjoy. They were never successful, however.

We finished the night with a 6p game of Cosmic. I played as the Clone. I had convinced my friend Aaron to bring me and his girlfriend Christy along for a shared win. But another player, May, broke the offensive alliances with an artifact. Aaron then made a deal with the defender to negotiate, which the two of them did for the shared victory. So close!

On Sunday I went to my regular meetup group. I played a 3p game of Mexica, which was new to me. It's still the only game in the "Mask Trilogy" that I've played, but it plays a lot like other Kramer/Kiesling games I'm familiar with, particularly Bison. Like Bison, it's an area control game where players are given a handful of action points each turn to spend on a menu of actions in the most efficient manner possible. I find that action point games often lead to analysis paralysis, but my play of Mexica went fairly quickly, so, for now, it's my favourite in the genre. I lost by a single point!

After Mexica we played a 3p game of Tigris. One player had never played before; the other was reasonably experienced. Still, I sort of crushed them. I ended the game with a score of 25-26-26-26. The runner up had about 15. I felt a bit bad for the newbie as we actually forced all of his leaders off the board in the late game. But he did enjoy the game, and he understood how conflicts worked right away.
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