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Subject: Game Recommendations for Someone Trying to Get Started in the Hobby rss

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David Auxier
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Hey everybody, I am pretty new to board games (beyond childhood games of risk, clue, and monopoly). A friend introduced me to Settlers a year or so ago and I liked it enough to give board gaming a shot.

In the last year I've acquired a handful of games (Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Forbidden Island, Dominion, and Settlers with the Seafarers plus Cities and Knights expansions). I've enjoyed all of these games (though I like Carcassonne and Forbidden Island a bit less than the others), and I would like to find a few more to try.

The issue is that I'm working from a fairly limited budget, so I don't want to buy just anything and I'd like to try some games that feature different styles and mechanics than those that I've already played.

So, if you could only recommend your top 2 or 3 games someone like me ought to try next, what would they be? Thanks in advance for any of you willing to take a few minutes to help out a new guy.
 
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David B
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From the list you have played, I think you can handle something a bit more difficult. You should try an auction game and the best one I know of (IMO of course) is Goa. It is a classic euro and because of the random set up of the tiles, each game plays out a bit differently. I believe it to be one of the classics.


A wonderful card game that is also full of variety and different paths to victory is Race for the Galaxy. The first 2 or 3 games are all about learning the symbols, but once you are past that, the symbols make sense and you are hooked. Fantastic game.
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Matt Bowles
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What sort of things do you enjoy the most about the games you like?
It doesn't have to be mechanics or heavy/lightness as you obviously want to explore.

But do you like luck? short games? Dice?

Why didn't you like Carcassonne and Forbidden Island?

I'd recommend
7 Wonders - same but different
Pandemic - more complex than Forbideen Island if you found it too simplistic.
Unnamed Object - short game of risk and reward.
Dixit - guess how someone else thinks
Kingsburg - heard good things but not played myself

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Cecily Parsley
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I just recently started in the hobby as well, and best advice I can give you is to WATCH REVIEWS. Explore what games are available and see what appeals to you as far as themes and game mechanics go. Starting out I knew basically nothing about what was out there, but I watched a bunch of videos from The Dice Tower and Rahdo Runs Through and heard about lots of games that sounded fun.

People can make all the recommendations in the world but really you should buy games that look the most interesting to you. There are many games in the top 10, 20, 50 that I have zero interest in, and many with lower rankings that excite me.
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Matt Bowles
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CecilyK wrote:
I just recently started in the hobby as well, and best advice I can give you is to WATCH REVIEWS. Explore what games are available and see what appeals to you as far as themes and game mechanics go. Starting out I knew basically nothing about what was out there, but I watched a bunch of videos from The Dice Tower and Rahdo Runs Through and heard about lots of games that sounded fun.

People can make all the recommendations in the world but really you should buy games that look the most interesting to you. There are many games in the top 10, 20, 50 that I have zero interest in, and many with lower rankings that excite me.

This is great advice!
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Leslie Wolfhard
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Hi, Milfred!

Just so that you get the most out of your investment, would you mind sharing with us how many people you're usually going to be playing with?

As of this moment, if I had a $100 budget for your next few games, I'd go with:

Cosmic Encounter: Easy to teach but incredibly replayable, Cosmic Encounter has the player negotiation aspect of a game like Catan and adds in direct conflict. Each player is an alien race trying to colonize other players' planets. The first to five colonies wins, and multiple players can win at once. This game's a real people-pleaser and can handle a pretty big group if you add in some expansions.

Race for the Galaxy: I second this recommendation.

pfctsqr wrote:
The first 2 or 3 games are all about learning the symbols, but once you are past that, the symbols make sense and you are hooked. Fantastic game.


Yeah, there's a bit of a learning curve for the symbols on the cards, but they come together pretty quickly in an intuitive way. Where Cosmic Encounter is a space game about player interaction, Race for the Galaxy is a space game about building your own little personal empire. I find the puzzle of it fun, and, since it's a race, it's never boring.

The Castles of Burgundy: Since you're looking for different styles of games, this is the euro game that has gotten the most play in my house. And it's the only one I've listed that involves dice. Like Race for the Galaxy, it involves building your own kingdom, but there's a lot more opportunity in Castles of Burgundy to screw over your opponent.

All together, these three total just less than $100 using Amazon Prime. Race for the Galaxy and Castles of Burgundy both play up to four people.
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Michael Carter
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When I started out, I spent a couple months just watching and reading reviews for various board games to learn the hobby's terminology and the various mechanisms that are used in different games to get a feeling for what interested me the most. Watching the various top 100 lists from the Dice Tower gives you a good taste of what some of the more popular games are and can give you some direction in your research. The guys at Shut Up & Sit Down have spent the last couple years making reviews aimed at people who are new to the hobby.
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Samo Oleami
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Thing is - it depends. Some might push you toward heavier games now that "you're ready", but you might as well enjoy the complexity you started with.

One thing to know about Settlers of Catan is that it's unlike anything else on the market. But seems to me, maybe you need some variety.

Anyway, people will give you many different ideas and then you'll have to figure out what would suit you. It will be hard to know without trying and even watching reviews won't help you figure out if it's a game for you. Probably 2 out of 10 next buys you'll make (without trying the game first) will be something you won't really like.

I'll drop some titles for you:

King of Tokyo - is immediate and really fun game, I mean it's made to be fun. Dice rolling + player elimination without being nasty as it's all about risk taking against what other people think (or fear). Best with 4-6.

Small World accessible area control / fighting game (sort of). Plays in 90 minutes, depending on player count and can be either light-hearted chaotic fun (with more people) or it can be serious and thinky (with less players).

Citadels - bluffing game of choice. Okay it seems to be about building a city, but it's not, it's about characters that give you special powers or kill another character. It has a feature of "I think that you think that I know..." thing going on.

Lords of Waterdeep. probably the most fun and easy to play worker placement game (meaning low on interaction game - this has plenty of replayabilty because of quest cards)

Ra / Priests of Ra - a bidding game of building an ancient civilisation (ok, pretty abstracted, but works for me). Ra is a bit more tense and thematic, Priests of Ra is gentler with cute illustrations. Bidding makes for interactive risk taking environment.

7 Wonders - somewhat similar to Ra, only that there's more stuff going on and that civilisation you build is made out of cards you draft. Low interaction, but plays 5-6 players no problem.

Power Grid for a more serious game that seems to be simpler than it is because of good theme implementation.

above that things get more specific, depends what you're looking for:
- Pandemic is a good place to start with a cooperative game
- Tichu is a good traditional type style game (and cheap) - 4 player only
- there are plenty good "party games" like Dixit, Wits n Wagers, Time's Up, Say Anything
- for more thematic take there is american classic Cosmic Encounter (a chaotic game of negotiations and bluffing and weird aliens), or Wiz War (wizards blowing stuff up).

It's easier to recommend if you can tell us:
- who are you gaming with: how many players, what kind of players, preferable time frame, how complex can games be. Also if theme matters or not, if conflict is tolerated or even preferred of if it's best avoided.
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Walt
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If you possibly can, find a local gaming group. That way you can try before you buy. Ask in the Midwest forum, try Misc/Find Users and look for organizer badges, and also try meetup.com.
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Carl Garber
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Stone Age is a must for your collection! It is THE gateway version of the "worker placement" mechanic that is very common in games these days. RA or Strasbourg might be good to check out the auction mechanic, an El grande(although possibly too difficult at this time) is a classic area majority game.

Hope these help!

Stone Age is a pretty safe bet, the other ones you will need to check out more.

Also:

Alhambra, 7 Wonders and Bohnanza are pretty beloved gateway games that you should check out as well!
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Jonas Persson
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Assuming you want quite light games similar to those you mentioned, I'd really recommend Quarriors!. It's a good one to drag your friends and family with you down into the rabbit hole.
 
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Leonard Moses II
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Plethora and/or Takenoko I go around and I do stuff. I move around and I have goals. They have goals. I hope their goal doesn't conflict with mine. I go here. I do this. I am working towards my goals.

Friday for a solo game.

Industrial Waste Economic cause and effect goodness easily playable with two players with or without the tweak of increasing waste production. Better with.

Innovation For a two player tinker machine style game.

Battle Line For a two player duel. Or Keltis if money is not a problem, but the way we play it is not supported by the rules, in our version it is speed versus distance heavily weighted towards speed but not always, and there is chaos which is welcomed here at times.

Arena: Roma II For a quick, luck but with decisions two player dice plus cards game. Not a dumb take that style game that you will feel cheated to have bought.

Santa Cruz Something that feels a little different. Competitive route building with bluffing and something else? Odd. Good.

Fairy Land If you must have a take that game why not at least choose one built upon the solid framework of a good gameplay mechanic. Like bidding with limited currency. This one includes action cards that can win you the game by dictating how you will play. That is unless your opponent knows which one you are using by watching what you are doing. Pvp set collection with bidding. Confrontational. Striving. Hoping. Paranoia. Fun. Digging for treasure but conserving resources. It doesn't cost a lot. If you want a controlled luck free game, don't buy this.

I will say that I like Fresco for worker placement but I am not convinced I have played my favorite worker placement game as of yet. I have a lot of well regarded worker placement games that I should try.
 
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Joao Pedro
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Puerto Rico
Caylus
Race for the Galaxy
Lords of Waterdeep
Power Grid
 
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Two things for peeps starting out:

1. BoardGameGeek News blog: Good for keeping up with what is on the horizon.

2. Geekmodding: Good for keeping up with what is on the horizon AND may enlighten you to games that have been out for awhile that you didn't know existed.


For specific games:

+1 to Lords of Waterdeep

Also try Android: Netrunner.
 
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Hardy
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How many people are u usually playing with?
 
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Anton Tolman
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I'm with Samo -- you've got good taste, man. I would echo most of the ones he said -- they are all great games: King of Tokyo, Small World (zany, crazy, but lots of fun), Citadels (awesome larger group game), Ra (one of my favorite auction older games), and 7 Wonders. I also agree on Pandemic as a good intro to Cooperative games, but if you love Lord of the Rings, go for Knizia's epic game of trying to make it to Mordor.

If you want something "deeper" and more complex, I would mention the venerable Puerto Rico. A lighter version of that based on card system is San Juan which I find to be a calming, but also fun and competitive game.


Samo's list:

King of Tokyo - is immediate and really fun game, I mean it's made to be fun. Dice rolling + player elimination without being nasty as it's all about risk taking against what other people think (or fear). Best with 4-6.

Small World accessible area control / fighting game (sort of). Plays in 90 minutes, depending on player count and can be either light-hearted chaotic fun (with more people) or it can be serious and thinky (with less players).

Citadels - bluffing game of choice. Okay it seems to be about building a city, but it's not, it's about characters that give you special powers or kill another character. It has a feature of "I think that you think that I know..." thing going on.

Lords of Waterdeep. probably the most fun and easy to play worker placement game (meaning low on interaction game - this has plenty of replayabilty because of quest cards)

Ra / Priests of Ra - a bidding game of building an ancient civilisation (ok, pretty abstracted, but works for me). Ra is a bit more tense and thematic, Priests of Ra is gentler with cute illustrations. Bidding makes for interactive risk taking environment.

7 Wonders - somewhat similar to Ra, only that there's more stuff going on and that civilisation you build is made out of cards you draft. Low interaction, but plays 5-6 players no problem.

Power Grid for a more serious game that seems to be simpler than it is because of good theme implementation.
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Brian Lucid
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Squad Leader
Up Front
Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)

then take a SAN Loss 6D10

 
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Marty Mcfly
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Settlers of Catan is also where it all started for me. We do need more info from you to understand what you look for a game.

But 7 Wonders and Lords of Waterdeep are excellent recommendation if you are not ready to move into more complex games. Both can be teach easily and everyone who I've shown these games immediatly fell in love with them.
 
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Kevin Eastwood
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Definitely try Guildhall- which has been a huge hit with my gaming group and is easy to pickup (and not expensive). Lords of Waterdeepis also excellent for someone new to gaming.
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Justin R
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Power Grid for auction, Citadels for drafting, Cosmic Encounter for replayable fun. Can probably get these for under $80 total.
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David Auxier
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Thanks so much everyone. I didn't imagine there would be nearly this many replies. You've given me a ton of options to consider that I'll check into.

I know that several of you asked about the number of people with whom I play, and whether we're interested in "heavier" games. I typically play with a group of 3-5 friends. I would like to take the next step into some games with more depth and strategy, however only 2 of my friends are very interested in trying more advanced games with me. So in essence, I am looking to add some games that all of us can play that may be a slight step up in difficulty, but not so much that they leave behind those who are content with our current level of difficulty. And I would simultaneously like to find some games that are enough more advanced that the 3 of us that want to do it can jump in and challenge ourselves.

If there are any other questions I can answer that would help you with recommendations I am happy to answer them. Again, thanks so much for the help. I am really excited about trying out some of the games you all have suggested.
 
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Kevin Garnica
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auxierd wrote:
Thanks so much everyone. I didn't imagine there would be nearly this many replies. You've given me a ton of options to consider that I'll check into.

I know that several of you asked about the number of people with whom I play, and whether we're interested in "heavier" games. I typically play with a group of 3-5 friends. I would like to take the next step into some games with more depth and strategy, however only 2 of my friends are very interested in trying more advanced games with me. So in essence, I am looking to add some games that all of us can play that may be a slight step up in difficulty, but not so much that they leave behind those who are content with our current level of difficulty. And I would simultaneously like to find some games that are enough more advanced that the 3 of us that want to do it can jump in and challenge ourselves.

If there are any other questions I can answer that would help you with recommendations I am happy to answer them. Again, thanks so much for the help. I am really excited about trying out some of the games you all have suggested.


As one poster above said - I'm still interested in knowing what you liked about some of your games and what you didn't like about the others.

Regardless, without that info, the best I can do is the following; these are games that you could play with the whole group:


Biblios
Fresco
Finca
Hanabi
Citadels
Stone Age
Cosmic Encounter
Lords of Waterdeep

If at least 3 of you are adventurous to try something new, then the following might appeal:

Kemet
Belfort
Carson City
Glen More
Puerto Rico
Hansa Teutonica
Castles of Burgundy
Homesteaders
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Mark Nicosia
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+1 King of Tokyo for a light game for everyone.
Yedo for people who want a more 'euro' experience, worker placement thing, yet accessible enough for almost everyone.
 
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Joke Meister
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CecilyK wrote:
I just recently started in the hobby as well, and best advice I can give you is to WATCH REVIEWS. Explore what games are available and see what appeals to you as far as themes and game mechanics go. Starting out I knew basically nothing about what was out there, but I watched a bunch of videos from The Dice Tower and Rahdo Runs Through and heard about lots of games that sounded fun.

People can make all the recommendations in the world but really you should buy games that look the most interesting to you. There are many games in the top 10, 20, 50 that I have zero interest in, and many with lower rankings that excite me.


Watch it played is also a great choice if you want to learn more about how a game plays (particularly as Rodney does a great job of explaining the rules as well as his thinking as he does the full game run through).
 
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Gary Tanner
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Jokemeister wrote:
CecilyK wrote:
I just recently started in the hobby as well, and best advice I can give you is to WATCH REVIEWS. Explore what games are available and see what appeals to you as far as themes and game mechanics go. Starting out I knew basically nothing about what was out there, but I watched a bunch of videos from The Dice Tower and Rahdo Runs Through and heard about lots of games that sounded fun.

People can make all the recommendations in the world but really you should buy games that look the most interesting to you. There are many games in the top 10, 20, 50 that I have zero interest in, and many with lower rankings that excite me.


Watch it played is also a great choice if you want to learn more about how a game plays (particularly as Rodney does a great job of explaining the rules as well as his thinking as he does the full game run through).


Watch it played is great. Dice Tower is really good too. If you're looking for quick reviews, to see if it sounds interesting without having to sit through 15-20 minutes or more, look for the reviews by Starlit Citadels. They're usually just over 5 minutes and can give you some feel for whether or not you'll be interested in the concepts.
 
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