Strategy Game Suggestions for a Rather Bloodthirsty Gaming Group
Thomas Heaney
United States
Quincy
California
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I’m helping to organize a board gaming group at our small college. The primary members are mostly young men who think Risk is a really-great-strategy-game. I am trying to open their eyes to a wider world of possibilities with the new generation of board games, but they do tend to enjoy games where they are directly conflicting with one another. I’ve listed a few games they play happily, but perhaps the many kind geeks out there can offer some suggestions.

The multiplayer games we’re looking for should be relatively easy to learn, playable in an hour or two, and include some conflict, combat, or general backstabbing with player negotiation a plus.
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1. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:14501]
Thomas Heaney
United States
Quincy
California
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The present favorite multi-player game. As a middle-aged guy, I find it a tedious dice-fest, but they seem to like it. Lots of conflict, fluid alliances, and since it goes on into the wee hours of the morning, everyone gets giddy.
 
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2. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:893]
Thomas Heaney
United States
Quincy
California
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This was a surprise hit with some of the group. Introduced it in a class and they ended up playing for fun. Fast moving, with some strategy while allowing a bit of cooperation. A good sign that they liked it.
 
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3. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:157] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Thomas Heaney
United States
Quincy
California
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This is their mainstay. They will miss my classes over and over in order to play this cash-eating puppy. The players on campus recently started a “gaming club,” and then changed their minds and created a “Magic club.” That says everything.
 
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4. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:316]
Thomas Heaney
United States
Quincy
California
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This is my next game to try with the group. Strategy, sneakiness, backstabbing, all themed well. I’m pretty sure they’ll love it, but you never can tell with these gamer-types.
 
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5. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:500]
Nate Sandall
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Based on your description, Diplomacy would be absolutely 100% perfect for your group. Might be longer than 1-2 hours, but relatively few units makes it very easy to record positions and pick up the game at another time later.
 
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6. Board Game: Lifeboats [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1230]
Nate Sandall
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Rette Sich Wer Kann might be a little tame for you guys but it would be finishable in your time frame listed. It's also highly interactive with no down time and in my opinion is better the more bloodthirsty the group.
 
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7. Board Game: Kremlin [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:851]
Nate Sandall
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Kremlin plays in an hour and a half, and is so sweetly savage. Players put secret influence on politicians in the old Soviet Politburo then try to get their guy to be party chief via various nasty means including purges, assassinations, cabinet reshufflings, spy investigations, and just making your friends grow old wither and die. Your friends will be so happy they will cheer when your party chief rolls a "1" on the health die roll and kicks the bucket ending your reign of terror.
 
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8. Board Game: Serenissima (first edition) [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1101]
Gary Webster
United States
Littleton
CO
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Only good for 4 at a time, the interaction is very good, and it's easy for the more bloodthirsty (and revengeful) to fill a ship with sailors and go hunting. Of course, it really screws up that player's chances of winning, but ...
 
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9. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1184]
Bob Geiger
United States
Morris
Illinois
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A bloody dice festival- and you can make historical comments during play. Perfect.
 
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10. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
Robin Wilkes
United States
Seattle
Washington
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5 player wargame goodness. Cramped map makes for essential diplomacy and simultaneous order placing mechanic makes for intense strategy. So goooood.
 
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11. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:801]
True Blue Jon
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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I think this would work quite well.
 
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12. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:215]
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
VA
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Plate of Shrimp.
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Easily the most brilliantly balanced diplomatic games that I've played. Plus, there is a fun little war game in it too boot. Without a doubt this one facilitates backstabbin' fun without just ganging up on the leader or picking on someone. When you play a game where all deals are binding, screwing someone over because of a loophole or using a deal to hurt player's positions have never been as delicious.
 
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13. Board Game: Princes of the Renaissance [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:585]
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
VA
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Plate of Shrimp.
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This game might be right up your alley (and it is also in print, unlike most of the suggestions on this list). This is a great diplomacy/auction game teeming with color and player interaction. A Bloodthirsty group should go ga-ga for this.
 
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14. Board Game: Tally Ho! [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:2479]
upandawaygames.com
United States
California
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Bears eating people is pretty bloodthirsty when there are only two of you.
 
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