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Subject: Preparing for the first Big Buy rss

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Dave Riedy
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Well, this has been a good week for me. Got several new, quick design gigs and got a new full-time freelance design job after many months of looking. To celebrate I'm going to place my first large-sized order for games.

I'm relatively new to the pasttime obsession and am trying to bring my friends in as well, and organize regular Game Nights. (Most of them are poker players, and open to the idea of gaming.) So far I've gotten people to play Carcassonne and Bang!, and pulled one friend in with Memoir '44 -- all of which have been met with enthusiasm. My wife and I have also played Samurai and Cartagena -- we like Samurai more.

Anyway, here's what I'm thinking for The Purchase -- trying to get titles that aren't too brain-intensive, have lots of theme (everyone loves Bang! for its theme), and make a good mixture of card/board games, since most people come from a card player background. (For Purchase #2, in several months, I'll up the Brain Burn Quotient)

Memoir '44: Terrain Pack (& new board)
Plunder -- this or Pirate's Cove?
Gloom
Killer Bunnies
Fearsome Floors
Mystery of the Abbey

Thoughts? Suggestions? Anecdotes?
 
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J. Green
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Just a couple thoughts.

First, Killer Bunny is a very unsatisfying game, even for a light game loaded with theme. You could play for hours and the endgame is always just a complete crapshoot.

Second, if you're going to get Mem '44 terrain pack and board, might as well get the eastern front expansion also. I think if you take the plunge on any given game, be prepared to buy all its expansions. Conversely, I'm very picky about which games I select, anticipating future expansions.

Third, I'd get Mystery of the Abbey *instead* of Pirate's Cove, and wait for the newer edition of Plunder instead of the one that's out now. Pirate's Cove has great theme, but unfulfilling gameplay; however, Mystery of the Abbey is intriguing and rather hard even though it's like advanced Clue. It's fun and full of theme, and if you win you feel like you did something.

I've never played Gloom or Fearsome Floors, but I'd pick FF over Gloom simply for the replay value and the artwork. Plus you don't have to worry about expansions.

Good luck!
 
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Jason Nachtrab
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Whereas I would go the other way, and say get Pirate's Cove over Mystery of the Abbey. MotA is an interesting game, but every game I've playes has been baffling - it seems like the deduction concept is easy, but it never seems to work out very well. Pirate's Cove is, in my opinion, a better game than it gets credit for. If you want theme it delivers in quantity. There is luck and dice-rolling and the occasional runaway leader, but despite all of this the game is flat out fun.

A new suggestion not on your list would be Bootleggers. Tons of theme, fairly light on the cogitation, and it's very social and interactive. This game is a blast with a good group.
 
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Eric Britt Strickland
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David, the Memoir 44 expansions are strong additions in my opion. My wife and I play them and particularly enjoy some of the East Front scenarios.
If you like Memoir 44, I would try to get them all. Cool stuff for light and playable wargaming.
Also consider GMT's Command and Colors: Ancients, which is the same system, with a little more chrome (still light and doable but deep). It takes it back to the days of Hannibal and Rome duking it out with Elephants and heavy cavalry. A real blast--two hearty thumbs up. And of course there is always Battle Cry, which takes on the Civil War.
Best of luck.
 
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Tim K.
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Your Poker player friends might enjoy Havoc: The Hundred Years War which is very Poker-like.

And how about Settlers of Catan? If they dig it you can build on it with expansions.

As for Fearsome Floors, I think people either love or hate it. If you think your friends will enjoy digesting the rules for monster movement then have at it. My casual friends couldn't be bothered to understand it.

The implementation of Plunder is quite fiddly and may put them off.
 
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Kane Klenko
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The phrase "we like Samurai more" makes me think that you really need to look at more Knizia games. If you like Samurai, you'll love some of his other stuff. Instead of giving you a long list here, I'll just say take a look at my GeekList of Knizia games here http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi... and let me know if you want any more info on any of the games. Feel free to GeekMail me if you want.
 
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Dave Riedy
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I'm definitely going to get all the Memoir '44 expansions, but have limited funds so am going to get one with every purchase, instead of all at once. (And I'm very interested in C&C as well -- but want to work through my M44 lust first.)

I think a Pirate-themed game will be a big hit. Is Plunder a more enjoyable, less-fiddly choice?

I'm concerned that certain people in the group my find Settlers too-bitsy, if you know what I mean? Of course I've not played it myself.
 
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Mike Kollross
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I second Bootleggers. Very cool game with more "game" than it first appears.

Pirates Cove is very light and very luck driven. Beautiful production but I traded it away for something more "meaty".

I own Gloom and while I haven't played it yet it looks like a blast.

Mike
 
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Jon
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muzzynyc wrote:
I'm definitely going to get all the Memoir '44 expansions, but have limited funds so am going to get one with every purchase, instead of all at once. (And I'm very interested in C&C as well -- but want to work through my M44 lust first.)

I think a Pirate-themed game will be a big hit. Is Plunder a more enjoyable, less-fiddly choice?

I'm concerned that certain people in the group my find Settlers too-bitsy, if you know what I mean? Of course I've not played it myself.



My opinion is tha Samurai is more bitsy than Settlers of Catan.
Neither seems overly bitsy to me.

My advice is to get a wide variety, so you can get more exposure to different stuff too. You never know what your friends (or you) will wind up liking. You're in a great spot, with so many terrific games available, it's hard to go wrong. With a first order, let it expand your horizons.

I like Tikal.

Best of luck.
 
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David Schuth
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Killer Bunnies works as an intro to gaming only if you yourself have a great enthusiasm for the game, you explain it well, AND you only use the starter pack. Once they've learned the game, then go on to expansions.

I personally have found that Ticket To Ride is a great bridge between gamers and non-gamers. It's fast, easy to learn, and yet still has a bit of strategery to it so that you won't be bored out of your gourd all the time.

Gloom and Fearsome Floors have both worked for me for this purpose as well, but it depends on your audience. Try 'em once but have a back-up in mind!
 
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Dan Conley
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Hi, David! The Mem '44 expansions are sweet indeed! I'll second some other folks and suggest the Eastern Front expansion...they're all good!

I don't mind the luck factor in Pirate's Cove one bit, and it's OOZING with theme! Lots of pirate jokes, grunting, and the sounds of "AAAAARRRRRRRRR!!!" around the table! arrrh Good fun!

My final suggestion would be Gloom. I haven't introduced this to ANYONE who hasn't enjoyed it! The see-through cards are way-cool, it has LOADS of theme with the card text, and is easy to learn and play. They have an expansion out that adds a family (or two), which means more than 4 can play!

I like Killer Bunnies, but the payoff at the end is a real letdown. It's FUN! Just be prepared for the fizzle of a finish...

Mystery of the Abbey is good, but might be a bit high on the Brain Burn factor. Similar to Clue with loads of thinking and narrowing the suspect list. It's okay, but the theme isn't as nicely developed as some of the others.

I don't know a THING about the other games you mentioned! blush

Good luck with the decisions!

Dan
 
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Chris Wiswell
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For "light in gameplay, heavy in theme," two suggestions:
1) Munchkin, if the gameplayers have any familiarity with old role playing games or can laugh at Tolkien type stuff. A very silly game.
2) Chez Geek, if the gameplayers are between college age and "recently out of college" (mid 20s). Again, very silly gameplay and lots of giggling when someone scores nookie points.

For "party game that you can enter and leave w/o risk," I'd try play-doh pictionary. This was always a big hit at game parties I'd attend in the last couple of years. Two cans of play-doh, one game of pictionary. Every turn is an all-play, and you'll need some house rules about what can and can't be sculpted (e.g., no letters or numbers, but you can make a clock if you need to use a number).
 
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Michelle Zentis
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Hmm...okay:

Memoir '44: Terrain Pack (& new board) - Sounds like this is a done deal

Plunder -- this or Pirate's Cove? - I'd take Plunder over Pirate's Cove. I really wanted to love Pirate's Cove, but it just didn't do anything either for me or for my gaming buddies. One big drawback was that you really needed to AVOID combat to do well, which didn't fit the theme.

Gloom and Killer Bunnies - Haven't played either one.

Fearsome Floors - I love this game, especially with 5-7 players, as long as nobody spends too much time figuring out their moves. It's usually good for lots of laughter as players try to lead the monster right into a whole crowd of other people's guys.

Mystery of the Abbey - My gaming group found this one frustrating, because players trade a few cards every hand, so you can't really use process of elimination to figure out the culprit. We also found that the cards in the library varied too greatly in power for our taste.

One thing to consider is that Commands and Colors: Ancients is selling like hotcakes, so if you wait too long it might be hard to find. That's not to say you need to get it this time, but you probably don't want to wait a whole year.

Here are some other recommendations:

Havoc - As noted above, this is a poker variant, but interesting even to those of us who aren't so wild about poker.

Through the Desert - I'm not sure how your buddies feel about pastel camels, but the game play is interesting, and it works well with two. Like Samurai, it's a Knizia game.

Diamant - This is a fun little push-your-luck game that plays up to 8. The rules are easy to learn, and it works well with non/casual gamers.

Alhambra - This would be especially good for you and your wife, although it plays up to 5. It's a gorgeous game that requires some thought but not too much.

Lost Cities - This card game is two-player only, but if you and your wife game often, it might be worth it. My parents are currently addicted to it.

Coloretto - This is another card game that's quick to learn and fun to play.

As an added bonus, most of these are $20 or less online.
 
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Nate Cockerilll
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I have to say Pirates Cove over PLUNDER. I think if you like Samurai perhaps Through the Desert,Amun-Re, or some other set collecting game of Knizia's
 
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Dave Riedy
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Thanks for all the help, everyone. Although now I'm more confused than I was before!

But I've got several new games on my "too buy" list that I'll have to sift through before I make The Purchase.

I've never understood before how someone could have 100+, 200+, 600+ games but after trying to whittle this list down... (I WANT THEM ALL!) I understand. And am a little frightened. wow
 
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Dan Conley
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David...you're very brave! To narrow the field, stick with that original list of yours and pick one from there. (Of course, the ones I recommended are the best!!!) You can always expand to some of the other great games suggested.

I understand the frustration. I have a collection that could be considered out of control by some (my wife, for one!). I know I can't play them ALL!!! Some have been purchased for other reasons, such as my copy of Dogfight. I bought it out of pure childhood nostalgia. At my age (53), I've found my self wanting to buy back a piece of my childhood here and there......

In YOUR case, buy a game that you'll actually play and enjoy! HAVE FUN!

Dan
 
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Jeff Coon
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If you haven't tried Settlers, you really need to give it a chance. There's a reason it's so big-time.

I haven't played Plunder, but can discourage you from Pirate's Cove. Yes, the pirate theme sounds like fun, but the gameplay is just poor. There's not much skill involved. If you don't mind a lack of skill and just want to roll some dice while shouting "yarrrr", it's the game for you.
 
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Robert Washington
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muzzynyc wrote:

Memoir '44: Terrain Pack (& new board)
Plunder -- this or Pirate's Cove?
Gloom
Killer Bunnies
Fearsome Floors
Mystery of the Abbey

Thoughts? Suggestions? Anecdotes?


I'd recommend the EASTERN FRONT over the terrain pack - it comes with more ready to play scenarios, and if IIRC it has rules for snipers, Commissars and mine fields - AIA, a little more ready-to-play stuff for your money. OTOH, people are nuts with online scenarios, so you might have enough stuff that uses the Terrain pack online already....

PIRATE'S COVE is a very light goof with a fair amount of luck elements, but I like it, ahr!

GLOOM is a fabulous game, but you'll want a large pack of clear card protectors and edveryone should be careful with them - sadly, the printing on text in red backgrounds rubs off very very easily, and the cards can break and even shatter if dropped so that they land on an edge or corner.

From the times I played, I'd say FEARSOME FLOORS is super super light but a pretty decent goof.

I think MYSTERY OF THE ABBEY doesn't go too well unless your group is big on mysteries or that type of game - it's structured so that it's hard to get the hang of how to ask questions and what to ask, so it's best awith a group with enough interest so that a group is certain to try it several times (though not all in a row) before putting it on the shelf, and with people with a minimal interest it tends to go over like a lead balloon - fmm, the problem is a lot of people think winning a game of CLUE vouchsafes their ability in deduction and basic logic, and of course what it mostly vouchsafes is your having figured out how CLUE works...in any case, if your group isn't serious about their interest, I'd give it a pass.

For a light card game not on your list yet, I'd recommend COLORETTO, SABOTEUR, FLUXX, and REINIER KNIZIA'S POISON - I feel all are as simple as it gets while retaining a decent amount of strategy.

For a top-notch multi-player (up to 4) "wargame" at about the level of MEMOIR '44, try NEXUS OPS, one of the best gateway games in a while imo.

For a light, auction-themed game you can teach to new/light players, I'd definitely recommend A FIST OF DRAGONSTONES and/or MODERN ART, in about that order - the 1st doesn't have as much downtime and usually goes faster.

And for an abstract/traditional, gotta recommend INGENIOUS - imo the ONLY reason TTR won SdJ instead of it is because TTR "feels" more "family".

 
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J Kosec
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You are indeed in a great spot, one from which I'm not too far removed myself--I was placing my first big order about a year or a year and a half ago, and I'll second your angst over not being able to whittle down your list!

It looks like our buying strategies are somewhat similar, as well: try and buy stuff that's easier to get into first, and then go for the heavier stuff later (for me, I've been waiting on some of the ones I've been dying to have, like Power Grid, until I know I'm going to have people to play them with!). To this end, you should check out Daniel Karp's nice GeekList on the topic of collecting games, which I think has saved my butt from more than one purchase I ...erm ...didn't necessarily NEED:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...

That being said, I think it's a testament to how many great games that are out there that we could both plan to make huge initial purchases and yet manage to avoid picking many of the same games. I can mention a couple that, given your current choices, I think would be worth your consideration, as they've seen a lot of play time with people who you wouldn't expect to love these sorts of games and have been big hits around here.

It looks like you’ve already got some experience with Memoir ’44, so you can see that it’s a great choice for scratching that wargame itch. If you’re getting an expansion, as well, you should find that you’ve got plenty of game to scratch that itch for quite some time, so that’s a no-brainer.

I would second the suggestion that you check out some of the Knizia games. I would look into grabbing Modern Art, as you’ll get a fantastic auction game at a great price. It’s got a decent theme, it’s easy to learn, and you will have no problem pulling it out with almost anyone. I’ve also had astounding success teaching Lost Cities to people, and while that is only a 2-player game, it’s sometimes handy to have some of those around and this is one of the best I’ve played.

If you’re looking for a traditional card-style game but with much more spice—a game to pull out with people who are familiar with cards but upon whom you’re not quite ready to drop Puerto Rico—think on Tichu, as it’s also really cheap. I’d also highly recommend Bohnanza: theming is fun but effective; the game is just different enough that it’s fun to pull out when people are ready to try one of your “different” games; it’s highly interactive; and once people “get” it it’s very intuitive to play.

The games I’ve suggested so far are all card games, and I agree that these are the ones people might be more willing to play as more people are familiar with card games. It sometimes feels nice to pull out a board game, though. San Juan feels more like a board game than a card game, and it plays fantastic. You’ll find that more people who have never heard of Euro games are somehow familiar with Settlers of Catan, so it’s worth your consideration. That being said, it’s been the one Euro I’ve found more people to be familiar with than any other, so you might just bump into someone who has it. TTR has a fantastic board-game feel to it. It’s really accessible and will appeal to almost anyone. And don’t be afraid to look at some of the other top-ranked games. I’ve found that people who are familiar with San Juan have absolutely no problem picking up on Puerto Rico. You may just find it helpful to keep in mind what games you’d ultimately like to try, and to get great games this time which can lead in the direction of those “meatier” games.

Congratulations on the jobs and let us know what you finally order!
 
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Dave Riedy
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Well folks the moment you I have been waiting for... the Official First Big Purchase List:

1. Memoir '44: Terrain Pack -- thought about taking your advice and getting the Eastern Front expansion instead but, c'mon, who are we kidding? I'll get that next month. I can wait a month.

2. Gloom -- will have to look into getting the card condoms (although how do you shuffle with them on?)

3. Pirate's Cove -- I think the group I'm wooing will like some light fluff with lots of opportunities to say "Arrrrrrrrrrr!" and "Shivar me timbers!"

4. Fearsome Floors -- nothing could deter me... for some reason I'm dying to play this (no pun intended)

because of your suggestions...

5. Through the Desert -- Knizia! And something that sounds intriguing but I might not have ever gotten if people hadn't suggested I move out of my "comfort zone"

6. Settlers of Catan -- this being one of THE gateway games, I decided it would be a better choice than Mystery of the Abbey and, again, trying something less theme-y (pirates! sad people! monks! monsters!)

7. Coloretto -- another card game is probably a good idea and this sounds like a good 'un. Thanks for the suggestion. (Tichu is next on the list.)

and because I just read a geeklist and it's only $12 more and I'll be supporting a small publisher etc. etc.

8. Monkeys on the Moon -- well, really because it's got freakin' monkeys and they're goin' to the moon!

Thanks again for the help, fellow Geeks. Can't wait for the package to arrive. meeple
 
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Robert Washington
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muzzynyc wrote:

2. Gloom -- will have to look into getting the card condoms (although how do you shuffle with them on?)


I held off on GLOOM hoping they get the production issues worked out -I did hear from someone at Atlas saying they were working on it.

But the person who told me card condoms worked well also said it wasn't as hard as you'd think it might be. I think the key might be to get a snug size - you for sure should check and see if the cards fit more snugly into a "MTG Standard" condom OR the slimmer, "Bridge standard" YU-GI-OH! condoms - I know CITADELS does best with the latter.
 
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Rob Defense
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I just made my first-ever Big Buy last week. I like your choices. Here were mine:


Descent
Memoir '44 Eastern Front
Shadows over Camelot
Lost Cities
Through the Desert
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (Deluxe edition)
Robo Rally

 
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Dave Riedy
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Owen: Killer Bunnies is still on the to-buy list, but didn't make the cut this time. But thanks for the cheerleading. Do you play with any of the expansion packs? Are they necessary?

Rob: Nice! And, oh, man, I'm dying to get Robo Rally but am afraid it's too "geeky" for all my non- or slight-geek friends. (What? Robots? Programming? ForGET it!) But when I told my wife that she said "Well, I'd play it with you..." so it's on the next list as well.
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Why not consider Command & Colors: Ancients!

It is a fantastic deeper evolution of Memoir '44 and works so well with this Era. A real winner if you like the Borg system.

Superb quality and superb fun. My best buy this year and will probably stay that way till Combat Commander comes out and the Commands & Colors Expansion comes out later this year.
 
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Dave Riedy
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C&C: Ancients is also on that ever-increasing to-buy list. Towards the top, actually.
 
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