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Subject: Need advice for parent who wants to purchase some games. rss

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Tim Korchnoi
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My Little Man's first real wargame play: Barbarossa Solitaire
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Hi all!
I sponsor a strategy club for 6th-8th graders after school where I work. One of the parents recently offered to buy a few games for the club. I thanked her for her generous offer and told her I would get back to her after I had a chance to collect some imput from fellow gamers on what would be good games for the age leve in question. So, I am asking help from you, my fellow geeks, for recommendations for our club. The following is a brief description of our group and some games we already have:
We meet once a week for 2 hrs. 36 kids 6th-8th grade, most are above average intelligence.
The games we already have:
Stratego
Monopoly
Life
Risk
Axis and Allies
Battle Cry
Memoir '44
Origins of World War II
Diplomacy
History of the World
Kingmaker
Battleship
Clue
Whodunit
Sirocco
Nuclear War
Fortress America
Conquest of the Empire

Any and all advice is greatl appreciated
Thanks,
Tim
 
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Robin
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First, I'd like to say that what you are doing is a wonderful idea.

Since you have many wargames and they seem to worked out well, you may want to try Commands and Colors: Ancients. It is by the same designer who did Battle Cry And M'44
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/14105

Also, since they already play Risk, you might want to try a variant.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1829
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/10383

But since you've already tried those sorts of games, I could understand wanting to go a completely different route.
 
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Steven Heinrich
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I recommend


Alhambra ID: 6249
Not too hard, not too easy, but requires thought to plan out your strategy, great introduction to more thought involved games.

Puerto Rico ID: 3076
One of the best games I played. Everytime I play I work on a different strategy. It can lead to great discussion periods as people think through the different ways you have to win. Recently taught it to four new people at one time and the two little girls, one was 7 and the other 10 and both had a blast.

Ticket to Ride ID: 9209
Simple, fun, and involves a enough strategy to make a short game still fun.

Munchkin
(Any variation) ID: 4095
Okay...okay...this is a loaded gun. The game IS a blast to play, since you try to be the cheesiest character possible (My ninja werewolf with pink armor dress and super ability of flight uses his sword of hacking to beat the monster), but once you start combining decks it can cause the game to last hour upon hour! My favorite is the Star Munchkin variation.

Keythedral ID: 4099
This game is simple, but has a deep development strategy that which needs to be played once, to really understand. The INITIAL placement of the different crops and your cities will make a HUGE difference in the game. Once you pick up on this game it is addictive.

BattleBall ID: 6795
(I threw this one in because it is fun and only $5 at Toys R US and Kay Bee toys...for $5 you can't get a better game, and you could get multiples and the kids could paint the guys uniforms and create a full league.)

Steven
 
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Robin
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I second Ticket to Ride also! That's a fun game and so easy to teach.
 
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Todd Jarvis
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I Third Ticket to Ride (either variant)
I second Puerto Rico

I also foward Power Grid.
 
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Kent Reuber
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Of the games that you list, what do the *kids* like? Knowing what they like now might give us some guidance about what to select.

I assume you want to emphasize multi-player games that might handle 4-6 players each?

Given the age and time constraints, I would guess you could probably sell Diplomacy and Kingmaker and use the profits to buy other things.
 
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Lars Casteen
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I think that it would be pretty hard to go wrong with the group that you've got, as long as you get games that are actually good. Just off the top of my head, here are things that I think I would have dug in 6th to 8th:

Tikal - I think the fact that this game looks fabulous, is themed well, and is easy to explain would probably make it a big hit in a classroom. I'm imagining kids walking by, seeing the great looking game, asking how it works, and getting a pretty good idea of it quickly.

San Juan - Might be a little more appropriate for the setting than Puerto Rico, sets up and packs up fast, and is easier to teach.

Through the Desert - This sort of seems like a no-brainer to me.

Ticket to Ride - Another total no-brainer, in my mind. Plays well with 2-5, looks great, easy to teach, wickedly fun, vaaaaaaaguely educational.

I'm going to have to disagree with an earlier poster - I'd say steer way clear of Munchkin. I think that for people who haven't really been around RPG's, the game has a great chance of being either baffling or obnoxious. Plus, I don't think it's particularly inclusive to girls. There's something I'm sort of having difficulty expressing on this web forum about this game. I feel like if a group of pre- and early teens gets exposed to this game, it could go a long way to actually turning kids (especially girls) off to games in general. I'm imagining that there would be a group of kids who would enjoy it, and get ostracized or something for liking it, and then the other kids would start thinking those kids are lame, and that games are lame, and so on and so on. Maybe I'm just projecting my own middle school experience here, but my point is that this game is a series of inside jokes, and as such isn't inclusive, which means it could then in turn be an exclusivizing (might not be a real word) thing for the kids who like it. If that doesn't make sense on this forum, it makes sense in my head. Also, it's a really bad game.

-=-
Lars
 
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Steven Heinrich
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see...told you Munchkin is either a love it or hate it game.

at least I didn't mention THE game (#6749)
I wasn't trying to initiate any antifemale playership or something with any underlying negative theme. Munchkin CAN be fun...within reason...kinda like watching the show "Jackass" is funny for the first five minutes and then your brain actually catches up with the images on the screen and shuts down!laugh
 
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Lars Casteen
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heinrichsteven wrote:
see...told you Munchkin is either a love it or hate it game.

at least I didn't mention THE game (#6749)
I wasn't trying to initiate any antifemale playership or something with any underlying negative theme. Munchkin CAN be fun...within reason...kinda like watching the show "Jackass" is funny for the first five minutes and then your brain actually catches up with the images on the screen and shuts down!laugh


Oh, don't get me wrong. I don't think that there's really much of anything anti-female about Munchkin. And I definitely didn't think you were trying to do some sort of misogynistic thing. I just think that girls of that age, by and large, won't be into it and will be alienated by it, and in turn by games in general, and the kids that like games. Obviously there are exceptions, I'm just trying to imagine what could happen if a group of kids that age started playing Munchkin in school.

-=-
Lars
 
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James Stubbs
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I'd suggest looking into:

Shadows Over Camelot
Wyatt Earp
Mall of Horror
Mag Blast
Tichu
Hammer of the Scots


 
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Jeremiah Lee
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Well, I'm actually a little surprised this hasn't been suggested already, but how about Tigris & Euphrates? (#42) War-like, plays quickly (1 hour or less once you've played a couple times).

Other games that come to mind are those from the excellent GIPF series:
YINSH - game of capture, kind of a cross between Othello and Go-Moku
DVONN - Stacking game, don't know what to compare it to.
PUNCT - connection game
These can take 15-45 minutes, depending on the thought put into each move.

Different from the rest of the games, but a great game nonetheless is Ys, which is a blind-bidding/influence game. It plays in about an hour. Box says 2-4 players, I've only played with 4, and it is excellent with 4.

It's not out yet, but El Grande is a great influence game, plays best with 5 people though.

Good luck deciding, let us know what you decide on!
 
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Tim Korchnoi
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In response to someones earlier point, the kids play a lot of Risk, Axis and Allies, Nuclear War is a big hit (we even had a tournament two years ago!) and we do have an occiasional game of Diplomacy and Kingmaker (the kids write down the position of their pieces and begin again at the same point the following week.
I would like to find some multi-player games since, this is a rural area, and most kids have trouble getting 4-6 players together.
Thanks for all the great receommendations thus far. Any other thoughts/ideas are most welcome. I knew I could count on BGG!!!
Tim
 
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Kurt
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Very cool. Both you and the parent should be commended. I wish there had been a game club in my school growing up.

Seeing as you like negotiation and war games what about A Game of Thrones and the Clash of Kings Expansion?

I haven't played them, but it's on my 'have to try it' list (and the books are excellent). According to the reviews, the expansion adds some depth (as well as the 6th player). Also plays best when the players are willing to negotiate as well as battle, and from the sounds of the list, this description fits your kids.

And I'd also second Ticket to Ride. One of my favorites for just plain fun gaming.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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My nephew is a little bit younger than that. He loves Settlers to pieces. I think it'd be good. Plus it gives them some practice with negotiation.
 
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LC
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Settlers of Catan (4 player - 6 player with expansion)
Ticket to Ride (5 player)
Railroad Tycoon (6 player)

All fairly easy to play, learn, and can easily be played in < 2 hours. But most of all a lot of fun and seem to be liked by a wide variety of gamers.
 
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Matthew Fisk
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I have to second Shadows Over Camelot for the following reasons:

You can make it purely cooperative and the kids learn to work together to beat the boardgame. It hones both reason and interpersonal relations.

You can also introduce the traitor at some point which takes the game to a very different level as they study one another and try to analyze who the traitor is among them.

I would think this game would work great in your setting.
 
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Dow Jones
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I second Settles of Catan wiht the Knights and Cities expansion. Puerto rico is an excelent game also. If the group is into Historical simulations of WW2 I suggest Panther Line or D-Day rangers from Critical Hit games .

DJ
 
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Jason Welch
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I would suggest:

Mystery of the Abbey as an upgrade from Clue.
Bootleggers as an upgrade from Monopoly.
Snits as an upgrade from Battleship.
Blood Feud in New York or Quest for the Dragonlords(with the Crystal of Power expansion for 5-6 players) as an upgrade from Risk.
Dungeon Twister as an upgrade from Stratego(OK, I'm reaching a bit here).
Bang!(with Dodge City) over Munchkin.
If these kids are playing Diplomacy, then you should by all means introduce them to the A Game of Thrones boardgame.
Considering some of the big wargames on your list, why not try Twilight
Imperium 3?
Through the Desert and Shadows Over Camelot are both good suggestions.
I'd also recommend Boomtown, Citadels, Fury of Dracula, King's Gate, and Lawless.
Chrononauts, Dogville, and Pirate's Cove are all games that are lighter on the strategic side(Bang! would fit into this category as well), but I think they'd also go over well with that age group.
 
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JP LaChance
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1) Ticket to Ride http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/9209
Good fun game that may be used to lure others who are not "gamers" into the club.

2) Carcassonne http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/822
Maybe the orig + one of the "expansions" Most would say "hunters & gatherers expansion" but i have not played the expansion myself. My Wife's impression is that we need an expansion to keep the game play longer.

3) Octiles http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/5281
abstract strategy. Another game that people who don't like cards or dice might really like. Playes fine with 2, 3 or 4 players.
 
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Robert Washington
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catosulla wrote:
Any other thoughts/ideas are most welcome. I knew I could count on BGG!!!
Tim


MUST get NEXUS OPS & BETRAYAL AT HOUSE ON THE HILL. The 1st is one of the finest 'gateway' games in years - amazingly simple and easy to pick up (MEMOIR '44 level), but filled with solid strategy and tactics. The 2nd is right up there with SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT in terms of solid multiplayer action with theme - you'll need to download the unfortunately extensive errata, but it's well worth it. NEXUS is for 4, BETRAYAL takes up to 5.

If they enjoy NUCLEAR WAR, you reeallly neeeed to consider KUNG FU FIGHTING!, CAR WARS: THE CARD GAME, & EN GARDE! They're all similar in general gameplay, but each has their own theme elements that really feel like a) a martial arts fight scene b) a ROAD WARRIOR-style armed-car-on-armed-car action c) a classic fight scene from an old-fashioned swashbuckler movie, respectively. Each is for up to 6 players, runs about 20 bucks retail, likely 15 or less if you order online.

Can't go wrong with STRUGGLE OF EMPIRES - up to 7 players, very 'hardcore' strategic system representing war between the "Great Powers" in the classic Napoleonic era. A little controversial since they do represent slavery in the game, but maybe an excellent way of starting off a discussion of that subject.

I'd also recommend MAHARAJA & KEYTHEDRAL - 2 reasonably simple but very challenging heavy strategy games.

For something lighter, I'd have to recommend the classic CITADELS - really more about bluff and counterbluff, but handles up to 8 players (cut the victory requirements by 1 District for every player above 5 or it'll take a loong time), runs about 15-204 retail, and very addictive.

MODERN ART and RA are my favorite intro "auction" games - both are easy to grasp while still offering very challenging gameplay.
 
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Kevin McF
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Chess, Ingenious, and Go are a few more to consider. I'll second the nomination for Through the Desert and the GIPF series.
 
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Joshua Lobkowicz
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I've seen a lot of good suggestions on here, I agree mostly with

Alhambra
Through the Desert
Tikal
Settlers

If they are enjoying Risk, I highly recommend Risk 2210 AD, the best of the risk games, takes it to the next level. shortens the playing time, A LOT of fun.

A game of thrones is great too, but timeframe wise it wouldn't fit, it would however be easy to write down and continue and that is another great "rule the world" style game.

I might also suggest colossal arena, plays 2-5 in about 45 minutes.

As for Puerto Rico, it's a great game, but I think I prefer San Juan, not to mention it sets up and plays much faster.

Good luck and happy gaming.
 
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Thomas Tholén
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Try out a game of Werewolf if you want something were lots of people can participate at the same time.
 
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Tim Korchnoi
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Thanks for all the great ideas! After reviewing the options and thinking about our group, I have chosen to submit this short list to the parent:
Tikal
Ticket to Ride
A Game of Thrones
I will be curious to see what the parent has to say when I show her the list. The last time I spoke to her I thanked her for her generous offer and then briefly explained how the games ususally cost between $30-$50 each. Her reply to that statment (here I nearly passed out) "money is no object." surprise
Thanks again for all the ideas and I'll post later in the spring and let everyone know how the kids liked the games.
Regards,
Tim
 
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