The Quest for A Storydriven BG...
Anders Kernel
Denmark
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Lo and Behold!

For years and years, my Gaming group and I have traversed the eternal multiverses of various roleplaying games and board games. As we have grown older, we have left the days behind when we met each friday to battle dragons in AD&D, skin smokewagons in Deadlands and form intrigues in Vampire...

We still, however, enjoy a lot of boardgaming!

That said, one of the things we enjoy the most is boardgames with a lot of theme or story, both good and bad.

I am starting this list to give you all the possibility to tell us which game you believe have the best story driven mechanism, or the best theme, as I hope to be inspired and inspire you.

Let me start out:
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Popular Tags: storytelling [+] story [+] roleplaying [+] theme [+] storydriven [+] [View All]
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1. Board Game: Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:533] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Anders Kernel
Denmark
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This is a favourite, even though its not a deep story, the way the game plays exactly like a Zombie Horror Movie, the great characters and a very balanced gameplay makes it a winner in my gaming group.

The different scenarios illustrate different stories each time while at the same time the cards tell the story. This is what sets it apart from a lot of other Zombie games.
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2. Board Game: Descent: The Road to Legend [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
Anders Kernel
Denmark
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Ah... Well this game could have been a hit in our group. The good thing is the way the characters develop, with a lot of potential varieties. However the story is pretty bad, only a few lines for each dungeon, and no feel of a story in the main plot, other than the ones we make up (Player yelling as Nanok: Where are all the girly monsters?)

Good mechanics though, even if we at certain times discuss how each ability is to be used... (Hey! I know, I just grapple the dragon it its corner... Hehehe! You cant touch me!).

All in all, a game that we play, but not with the same endeavour as other games.

Playing the Descent vanilla doesnt add any worthwhile story...
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3. Board Game: Junta [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:949]
Anders Kernel
Denmark
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This one is a hit!

Playing a military Junta in the south america, trying to get as many money as possible into our bank accounts is just the kind of goodnatured backstabbing we like. We often dress up in military uniforms, smoke cigars and the president has to adress the "public" in a speak every time he gives out the money, to loud salutations from all except the navy.

It is an oldie and goodie!
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4. Board Game: A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:733]
Anders Kernel
Denmark
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Now this one was so promising.

After having played Last Night on Earth countless of times, we knew that Flying Frog wouldnt let us down... Well they didnt, but neither did they deliver what we wanted.

There is the elements of a story with a big bad guy, that has to be stopped by one of the players, however when we drift around the board the cards doesnt really create a very defined or interesting story... So you meet an owl at the crossroads in the olde woods. Roll some die collect clue tokens and... next player.

It is fun and sometimes challenging, but still not a hit. The mechanics often compared to the next game...
 
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5. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:237] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Anders Kernel
Denmark
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Once again a good game, and you would expect it to ooze story, but not for us.

The good is that the cards have very nice Lovecraft inspired stories, but as with the above game the story does not really affect the game play: "As you reach for the mummy's glowing red gem, it seizes your throat. Roll a combat check. If succesfull blabla. If not it rips your arm off and eat your brains."

More story on the individual cards, but still the same mechanism. Card - check. No story.

Also, two things bother us with the game mechanism: There always seems to be a best strategy (pile up on guns), and it is dangerously random what you encounter, and what skills you have to use.

Criticism aside, it is often a game we play for the sheer size of it and the many many many random encounters.
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6. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:48]
Anders Kernel
Denmark
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Another hit in our group.

The theme in the game combined with the possibilities to utilize your own racial bonuses and decide the development of your empire, it delivers what it promises, with surplus to boot.

Now if we could only finish one of this darn game...
 
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7. Board Game: Thrilling Tales of Adventure! [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Sean Ross
Canada
North Vancouver
British Columbia
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This game, by Jason Lutes, is still under development but it already looks great. Here's the description from the game page:

Thrilling Tales of Adventure! is set in the world of pulp fiction and adventure serials of the 1920s and 1930s. Each player takes on the role of a classic pulp hero, such as Samantha Starr (intrepid girl reporter) or the Amazing Uri (former magician to the Tsar), battling the forces of darkness as they unravel mysterious plots that will take them to the far corners of the globe. At the same time, each player plays an Arch-Villain whose identity is secret, creating plotlines for the other players' heroes to tackle while working toward completion of a nefarious Master Plan.

The key mechanic of the game is the creation of "Plotlines," linked sets of cards that a hero must investigate and overcome in order to collect Heroism points. When a Plotline is created, it sets a timer in motion and becomes open for investigation by the heroes; if the timer runs out before a hero has successfully completed the Plotline, the author of the Plotline scores Villainy points for any cards that remain unresolved.


You can read a couple of design logs here and here.
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8. Board Game: Hour of Glory: Stronghold Kit [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:4906]
Sean Ross
Canada
North Vancouver
British Columbia
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Hour of Glory is a first person sneaker translated to miniatures/board game format. From the game's description:

As an elite Allied agent you must infiltrate the enemy Stronghold, obtain vital intelligence on the Axis secret weapon and escape to report your findings to HQ. You have two distinct tactical options: raiding (stealthy movement and silent killing) and assault (speed, aggression and liberal use of firepower). Whichever way you decide to tackle your mission, you have just 60 minutes to accomplish it before the Stronghold is locked down – after which, escape will be impossible.

User and podcaster, FNH1, has written some session reports that highlight the narratives that can emerge from playing the game.

My copy of this game is currently winging its way somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean as I write this. Very excited!
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9. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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I think this one does a great job showing off its theme. The books are all about fighting to become king -- land grabs, military play, and plenty of intrigue. This game has a lot of Diplomacy in it, with a lot of flavor (board, character cards) from the books.

Rethemed and implemented online as www.waroftherealm.com -- not nearly as good as the original as far as I can tell from one partial game: I'm not sure how one is supposed to negotiate with other players.
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10. Board Game: Babylon 5 Collectible Card Game [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:3095]
Avri
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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For anyone who was a fan of this great show, the CCG creates outstanding storytelling opportunities. The rules actually demand that you justify the card you play in terms of the story being told.

Made a good game great, in my opinion. Shame I haven't had an opponent in years . . .
 
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11. Board Game: Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1278]
Flying Arrow
United States
Pennsylvania
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The story is the game...
 
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12. Board Game: Battlestations [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1466]
Flying Arrow
United States
Pennsylvania
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Very RPG-like. There's even a GM, but players are restricted to a finite set of actions and there is a defined winning condition.
 
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