LA Carroll
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I am relatively new to the hobby and am seeking some recommendations regarding which games to get next. Below you will find some information about me as a gamer and then my questions. I have scoured the BBG and the Internet for reviews and video playhtroughs but I need some help deciding what direction to go from here.

Me and Who I Game With: Most of the time I am gaming with two players. Occasionally I will have a max of four players. Two to three times a year I bring games with me when I am visiting my nieces (ages 8 and 13). Other than myself I would consider all of the others casual gamers. My nieces are beginning to become more than casual gamers. I am looking to bringing a little more challenge myself and my nieces as well as the other people I game with regularly. All have played and enjoy Pandemic and Forbidden Island. Cooperative is not necessary. My profile is current as far as the games I own and the ones I am looking into.

Questions:
1. Considering that a majority of the time I am playing in a 2-4 player group and the majority of my group is new to gaming, which of the following Rosenberg's games would be a good next step: Ora et Labora, Agricola (Family), Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small or At the Gate of Loyang.

2. If I only buy one game in the Lovecraft theme, which of the following would be best fit for solo as well as group play (max 2 players probably-I don't think the other couple would be interested in this theme and they are too cumbersome to bring with me when I travel to my visit my nieces): Arkham Horror, Elder Sign, or Mansions of Madness?

3. I already know that I want to buy Carcassonne. My question is are the Abbey and Mayor and the Bridges, Castles and Bazaars worth hunting down the Big Box 3?

Sorry this is lengthy and thank you in advance for all your help.

LoriAnn
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Thomas
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
I can only comment in number 2. My vote is for Elder Sign, it's one of me and my girlfriends favorites. It has a ton of replay ability and with thr expansion that just came out you can scale the difficulty as well.
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
2 is the only question I can answer. It depends in what you want Elder Sign and Arkham Horror are both excellent solo able games. Elder Sign is a shorter dice game where as Arkham Horror is a longer adventure. Also Arkham Horror has a steeper learning curve. The general gist of the game is easy to grasp but there are many little rules that are initially easy to miss and/or overlook.

For what it's worth Arkham Horror is one of my favorite games but be prepared to spend 1 1/2 to 2 hours playing it
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Jin Juku
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
2. It depends on what you want out of the game. They are all very, very different games.

Arkham Horror: This is going to be a long game, as in, 2-3 hours. Someone else can disagree, as I've only played it a few times, but even with experienced players I can't see it being shorter than that. The theme comes through really well with this game. And, if you really enjoy it, there are a ton of expansions that can provide a fresh look at the game.

Elder Sign: My wife and I own this and enjoy it a lot. It is basically a dice game. The Lovecraft theme is not as strong in this as it is in Arkham Horror, but the artwork is sufficiently creepy to get a Lovecraft fix. I'd suggest buying the expansion. We just got it, and it looks to really scale the tension / difficulty, as the other poster said.

Mansions of Madness: I have not played this, but a friend has it and I've seen multiple reviews of it. This looks to be the least "board gamey" of the bunch. This is much more of a story-telling game. (Again, hearsay, but) Setup time is pretty long, and game play is also pretty long. One thing I'm not enamored with is that one person has to play the keeper and the other has to play the investigator(s). I'd much rather play cooperatively with my wife in either Arkham or Elder.


3. I wouldn't spend a heck of a lot of time hunting down Big Box 3 just for those expansions. We have Bridges, Castles, and Bazaars (purchased separately), and we sometimes play with and sometimes without. If you can find it, grab it, if not, don't worry about not having them yet. Plain Carcassonne is a lot of fun.
 
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Katherine Boag
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
love2teachsci wrote:

Questions:
1. Considering that a majority of the time I am playing in a 2-4 player group and the majority of my group is new to gaming, which of the following Rosenberg's games would be a good next step: Ora et Labora, Agricola (Family), Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small or At the Gate of Loyang.


I have found casual gamers to struggle to engage with the Gates of Loyang. As a gamer I struggle to figure out what I'm doing in Ora Et Labora, so I would hesitate to introduce it to casual gamers on that basis. Agricola I have seen entertain all groups including beginner gamers, and the family variant is great for even quite young children. All of them play well (in my opinion) with all numbers of players.

I haven't played All Creatures Big and Small.

Edit: my favourite is Loyang.
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Byron Campbell
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
1) I can't really comment on the Rosenberg games. But based on what I know, it seems like Agricola gets you the most options. You can play solitaire, you can play the family game, you can play 2 players or more than 2, and you can move on to the advanced game without needing to make another purchase. None of the others seem to offer this much flexibility.

2) It depends what you want. I would not recommend Arkham Horror for 2 players unless you are prepared to play 2 characters each (which gets VERY complicated as each character has a unique set of items, spells and abilities to keep track of). Also, somebody said expect 1.5 to 2 hours. In my experience, 3-5 hours is more likely.

Elder Sign is much more balanced for different player counts and much easier to play multiple characters. Like AH, solo play is an option, and it would be easy to learn for casual gamers. You might have the most success with this. I personally enjoy it less than the other two Lovecraft games.

Mansions of Madness is my personal favorite. I would recommend getting this one if you feel you can handle (and want) more complexity while leaving the game accessible for casual players. The Keeper player essentially runs the game, and it is entirely up to the keeper how memorable the experience is. Like a RPG, only the keeper needs to know all the rules or do any preparation ahead of time. The Investigators just need to know their options each turn, which are dead simple to explain (2 movement and an action, in any order). Games generally take 1.5-3 hours, and it can be played by 2-5 players easily (in a 2 player game, your opponent will want to control at least 2 investigators). No solo play option, unfortunately.

3) I do not have either of the expansions. I can tell you that the game plays perfectly fine by itself or with either (or both) of the first 2 expansions. I only have the base game and Traders and Builders, and am in no rush to buy the 2 you mentioned
 
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Michael Hyland

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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
Elder Sign will appeal to the casual gamers I think.

Agricola is my least fav but is probably the right choice for a Rosen game. I still like the game but prefer the other two though all 3 are good games.
 
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N S.
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
Get Agricola.

Carcassonne base plus Inns and Cathedals is all you will ever need. Ignore all other expansions.

There are no good Lovecraft games, but if you must get one Elder Sign is the least bad.
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Will Plante
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
Noahboa wrote:


Carcassonne base plus Inns and Cathedals is all you will ever need. Ignore all other expansions.

I was about to post the same thing.
With just that expansion you will have a perfect variety of tiles, improved scoring for roads and still maintain a short/non-bloated Carc experience.
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Ben E
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
Noahboa wrote:


There are no good Lovecraft games, but if you must get one Elder Sign is the least bad.


Ignore him it is a matter of different tastes. In my opinion there are no good Rosen games at all, but if you like that type of thing then I am not going to try and persuade you otherwise.

Lovecraft games have been extensively discussed above so I won't repeat what has been said. Each has it's pros and cons.
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Dave B.
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
For Rosenberg stuff, I'd probably go with Agricola. Ora et Labora is cool, but it's open-ended almost to a fault, and there's zero randomness during setup. Only venture this way if you think the economics of Agricola and Le Havre are far too simple, and you just have to have 22 types of goods, a few dozen different buildings, spatial scoring mechanisms, and more complex worker placement rules and options. It's a good game, but definitely not the first Rosenberg I'd introduce somebody to.

I've heard Gates of Loyang isn't as good with more than two players. I've only played it solo, and it's pretty good for that; the card tableau keeps things fresh. The heavy card-play makes it probably the best choice for solo play, as each game can be quite different. Ora et Labora is at the other end of the spectrum, as every game can be played exactly the same if you want. Agricola and Le Havre are somewhere in the middle, with their random ordering of action cards, and special buildings/minors/occupations.

Unrelated suggestion: Check out Forbidden Desert if you haven't already.
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
Noahboa wrote:

Carcassonne base plus Inns and Cathedals is all you will ever need. Ignore all other expansions.


I would leave out the cathedrals, though. The Inn's are good.

The trading part of trader's and builders is also nice.

I also like the dragon&princess expansion, though it makes teh gamer very different and chaotic.
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
love2teachsci wrote:
they are too cumbersome to bring with me when I travel to my visit my nieces)

Actually, Elder Sign will travel pretty easily (unless you trick it out with the expansion and a bunch of gratuitous pimping like I've done).If you're willing to entertain the whimsical end of the Lovecraftian spectrum, and you and the other players are willing to risk a little brain-burn, The Stars Are Right is pretty cool.
 
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Katherine Boag
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
davidbrit2 wrote:
I've heard Gates of Loyang isn't as good with more than two players. I've only played it solo...


It plays fine, however it takes a lot longer with 3 than with 2. 4 players is about the same as 2, or only slightly longer. If people are very impatient it is not the best game, as turns can be quite long. I like it regardless, but I understand it is not everyone's cup of tea.
 
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Morten K
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
I know my answer is not what you asked for, but how about starting out with other gateway games apart from Carcassonne instead of going into heavier stuff? Especially with two aged 8 and 13. Lords of Waterdeep, Snowdonia and Ticket to Ride for instance.
 
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Michael F
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
1. It's hard to beat Agricola (despite the fact I haven't played the others). It's just a great all-around game, no matter who you're playing with. Tremendous amount of replay value, too.

2. Arkham Horror if you want something to sink your teeth into, but Elder Sign would be better for casual gamers. Never played MoM, but you can't go wrong with the other two.

3. Personally I think the base Carcassone game is a lot of fun, but if you're itching for something different, I've heard the Carcassone "clones" are better than the expansions. I don't have any first hand experience of this though.
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Alex Gagnon
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
Carcassonne still my favorite game, the 2 first expansions (Inns and Cathedrals + Traders and Builders) are both a must have and I can't imagine playing Carcassonne without them. Abey and Mayors (i think it's the fifth one) is a good addition too but all other are not great at all (the river and the river 2 are ok) and add to much change too the gameplay.

I would not buy the big box. I think the best way to enjoy carcassonne is the original game (sometime including the river expansion) + inns and cathedrals + traders and builders.

 
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chris leko
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
Quote:


1. Considering that a majority of the time I am playing in a 2-4 player group and the majority of my group is new to gaming, which of the following Rosenberg's games would be a good next step: Ora et Labora, Agricola (Family), Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small or At the Gate of Loyang.


I love all four of these games. At the Gate of Loyang is my favorite solitaire game out of all of them, but it doesn't really play well with 4. All creatures big and small only plays 2, and Ora et Labora is probably a bit too big for new gamers. I struggled with it! I'd say Agricola is the best bet. You can add in the cards later, and introduce people to the game with the family version. The feeding mechanic can be stressful, but without the cards it isn't too much to handle. Be prepared for some analysis paralysis on this the first couple of plays though. It is a brilliant game!

At the Gates of Loyang is probably one of my favorites, and I wouldn't get detracted from a lot of the negative stuff you'll read about it (not in this thread, there's a lot of negative Nancies out there). The solo game is great, and it plays really well with 2. I think it'll have a tough time grabbing new players though, Agricola is a bit more visceral and easier to grasp, and the cards add a lot of variability. Ora is really brilliant, but it's too open. You really can work on maximizing your strategy though. Of all of them, this one approaches chess the most closely due to the complete lack of randomness in the setup and play (it's all about reacting to others and making sure your strategy is sound). Because of that it might be a bit offputting to new players!

Quote:

2. If I only buy one game in the Lovecraft theme, which of the following would be best fit for solo as well as group play (max 2 players probably-I don't think the other couple would be interested in this theme and they are too cumbersome to bring with me when I travel to my visit my nieces): Arkham Horror, Elder Sign, or Mansions of Madness?


Elder Sign. Arkham Horror is a good game, but it wasn't for me, it doesn't travel well, and it takes way too long to play for the experience (for me). Elder Sign (which I also wasn't a huge fan of) offers a similar experience in 1/4 the time!


Quote:

3. I already know that I want to buy Carcassonne. My question is are the Abbey and Mayor and the Bridges, Castles and Bazaars worth hunting down the Big Box 3?


I wouldn't worry about tracking it down unless you have a readily available spot and it's not expensive.
 
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Tyler DeLisle
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Re: Rosenberg games, Lovecraft games and Carcassonne
neverlooz wrote:
Carcassonne still my favorite game, the 2 first expansions (Inns and Cathedrals + Traders and Builders) are both a must have and I can't imagine playing Carcassonne without them. Abey and Mayors (i think it's the fifth one) is a good addition too but all other are not great at all (the river and the river 2 are ok) and add to much change too the gameplay.


Answering .3, and I agree with the guy above. Only expansions I'd really worry about are Inns and Cathedrals and Traders and Builders, they add just enough extra strategy without changing any fundamentals to the gameplay. It's really easy to just mix and match them as you play also. There's a mini expansion, bridges, that's pretty clever also.

If I had to do it over again though, I might just go with Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers though. I haven't played it to say for sure myself, but from what I understand, it's essentially a slightly retooled Carcasonne with the mechanics introduced from the above expansions built in to the game.
 
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LA Carroll
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First and foremost, thank you to everyone who responded to my post. Your comments and suggestions have been extremely helpful.

@Josh, Jin, BryonI think Arkham Horror will be too long for the time being. I personally would like to play the game, but will need to wait until I find a group to play it with. Of the three Mansions of Madness is the one that grabs my interest, but I just don't have people to play it with. Maybe someday.

@Katherine and Chris I think I am going to purchase At the Gates of Loyang just to play solo. I really am drawn to the game. Maybe after I play it myself I can try to introduce it to others.

@Dave B. I have two copies of Forbidden Desert on preorder. One for myself and one to take to CA when I visit my nieces again. I brought Forbidden Island to them this summer and we played it almost every night for the 3 weeks I was there. I ended up leaving my copy with them and buying one for myself when I came home.

@Morten I had the same concerns about the difficulty level of the games. That is why I was seeking advice. Both my nieces and the adults that I game with have played TTR, Forbidden Island and Pandemic. They were all big hits with everyone. I think Carcassone should be okay for most of them. The Rosenberg and Lovecraft games are mostly for the adults that I game with.

I think my next set of games will include the base Carcassone and Agricola for everyone and then Elder Sign and At the Gates of Loyang for myself.

Thank you all once again.

LoriAnn
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