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Subject: Magic the Gathering players trying to convert over to board games. Need suggestions. rss

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Caleb K.
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Hey guys, I am a fairly hardcore magic the gathering player, been playing with a group of my old college friends (about 15 people) 2-3 times a week for the last 6 years. Unfortunately, I have recently gotten extremely burned out on the game, and so have my friends. One of the main problem we are having is certain players taking way too long of turns during multiplayer games and really dragging down the whole game. Now when I send text messages out for game night, I am only getting like two responses back or so since everyone is just tired of playing three hour games where a couple people spend the whole time playing solitaire with themselves. In the last few months we have only had enough players to get together to play twice.

In an effort to try and revitalize my gaming group, I am looking for some new board games that would relate well to "hardcore" MTG players and might be fresh enough to get everyone excited about gaming again. I asked around and most of the guys' only experiences with boardgames are classic games like Chess, Go, Risk, Monopoly, Clue, etc. so in other words none of us have any experience with most newer modern board games. I looked at the top board game list on this site and only recognized a couple of the games. Most of the guys are very experienced with video game RPGs and the like, and enjoy computer strategy games too.

What new games do you think would go over well for our group? We average anywhere from 4 to 10 players on a typical game night so we could play a game as a big group or break it into two groups. I really don't know what boardgame to start with and I hate to pick one that will flop. I have about a $500 budget so I am looking for probably 10 or so games of various style and theme to pick up and I can let the guys have a selection and choose what they want to play when we meet.

Edit: Also to answer some of the questions asked about our MTG play group, we solely play MTG in a multiplayer Commander/EDH format. We play 3 player cutthroat free-for-all, 5 player star, 2vs2 two headed giant, 3vs3 emperor, and even 2vs2vs2. We like big splashy spells, and the randomness inherent in the EDH format. We also favor lots of hate strategies that are mean, so lots of spells that destroy other players stuff and screws up their game plans.

Edit 2: I call us "hardcore" not because we play competitive tournaments, but because the average EDH deck we have is around $500-$700. Most of us are professionals in various fields and none of us have dependents so we have a lot of disposable income to put into the game. I know one guy that has $2200 in just one deck so I consider that fairly hardcore. My personal MTG collection is around $15k. We have been in an ever increasing "arms race" and now simple decks are obsolete and only min/maxed decks can compete, which is not a good thing.

Edit 3: This is my current list of games I own thanks to the suggestions in this thread:

7 Wonders
Dominion + Dominion Intrigue
Race for the Galaxy
Ascension + 1st Expansion
Lords of Waterdeep
The Resistance: Avalon

Dominion + Dominion Intrigue is the only game we have played so far and it was a great success! Can't wait till we meet again to try the next game.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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For people with interest in various levels of roleplay the following come to mind immediately.

Battlestar Galactica for 5 players (2-3h, more at first, ok with 6, so-so with 4, can be learned with 3, three expansion available, the latest Daybreak makes it a better 4p and 6p game).

Cosmic Encounter for 3-5 players (~1.5h) but preferably 4+ (each of the first 3 expansions adds a player, so 3-7 if you get the first two).

The Resistance:Avalon for 5-10 players for a really intense experience at around 30mins per game.


It is also important to not to buy too many games at first. Get a few and get the group's likes and dislikes about them. It is easier to hone in on the suitable games that work in your group.
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Cyrus the Great
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In terms of Magic, how about building a cube and drafting with it? That way you only have two players per game at any one time, which makes analysis paralysis much less of a deal.

Boardgames:
The Resistance
King of Tokyo (this and the next are both Richard Garfield games)
RoboRally (this has a timed element, so AP isn't a problem)
Galaxy Trucker (also timed)
7 Wonders (has drafting, and everyone takes their turn simultaneously)
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Matt Kaercher
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a1bert wrote:
The Resistance:Avalon for 5-10 players for a really intense experience at around 30mins per game.

Either this or it's sci-fi counterpart would be great for a group your size.
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Stephen Eckman
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+1 to The Resistance and 7 Wonders
How about Dominion? We play with up to 6 players when adding in Dominion: Intrigue.
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M M
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It only plays 4, but Wiz-War (eighth edition) was one of the inspirations for M:tG and a damn fine game.
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super varal
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It should be noted that boardgames can have long turn just like multiplayer games of Magic.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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super varal wrote:
It should be noted that boardgames can have long turn just like multiplayer games of Magic.


The trick is to select games that have everyone involved in various ways during the other players' turns. (Dominion does not AFAIK, and I don't know about Wiz War, but the other suggested games keep everyone involved, even KoT until you get killed...)
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You aren't going to be able to escape AP with boardgames.
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josh willhite
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Seasons, don't let the silly name fool you. This game should fill the gap between board games and MTG perfectly!
Seasons only supports 2-4 players though. I own a copy of the Resistance as well, I give it a +1. Zombicide is a huge hit with my game group, supports 1-6 players, only game they ever want to play.
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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frumpish wrote:
You aren't going to be able to escape AP with boardgames.

You do if the AP-prone players keep playing MtG.

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I'd get some games that have lots of cards that do different things, since it's inherently appealing to MtG players. Suggestions include:
Innovation (each card unique)
Race for the Galaxy
Eminent Domain (some deckbuilding)
Glory to Rome
Dominion (deckbuilding)

These only play up to 4-5, but I imagine they'd work -- especially if you've only been getting a few responses anyway.

Another +1 to 7 Wonders, which not only plays 7, but as mentioned also has drafting.

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If you are looking to attract current MtG players, you will have a tough sell, but you probably should start with just about any Deckbuilding game, as those are all inspired by the customizable decks of Magic, but make the act of constructing a deck part of the game itself rather than something done between games:

Dominion was the first, I personally am a hard-core Puzzle Strike fanatic, but I can also recommend Emminent Domain and Quarriors from personal experience.

Other entries in the genre which I have not personally tried include Ascension, Tanto Cuore, Nightfall, Legendary, Thunderstone, Mage Knight, Rune Age and others I'm forgetting.
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Caleb K.
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Wow, thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I will check out everything that has been suggested later tonight when I get home. I will say I am super excited about the prospect of playing some new games and I have a tendency to go overboard so it will be hard to not just buy everything that has been posted so far haha.

Yeah analysis paralysis (love this term!) is a fun killer and we have two players in particular who are the worse offenders. For everyone else, it isn't just AP, but more a problem that they have been fine tuning their decks over a long time so it has lots of combos and synergy that just takes a long time for them to do everything on their turn, hence it looks like they are playing solitaire for 5-10 mins every turn. I love when we used more simple strategies of just attacking with creatures every turn and the games were fast and fun. The simple strategies became obsolete though as everyone's decks got better and meaner over time.
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned Summoner Wars yet. It might be a bit small though; it will fit 2 players perfectly and I've heard good things about the team multiplayer for 4. It nominally has deckbuilding elements like Magic does, though it's better compared to the MTG duel decks that are designed to be played against each other out of the box.

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game scales excellently for any number between 2-6 players, and is a very fun game if your group likes the tropes of zombie B-movies. It's semi-cooperative (two teams) and players can go in any order and play cards during each others' turns, so downtime is limited.

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is also another good one for larger groups, though the experience varies with the player count as someone else mentioned. Don't worry about the connection to the TV show; beyond the basic premise (humans vs Cylons) it doesn't have much to do with the plot and can be enjoyed even if you don't care about the show or don't want spoilers for later episodes.
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Garcian Smith
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Quote:
We average anywhere from 4 to 10 players on a typical game night so we could play a game as a big group or break it into two groups. I really don't know what boardgame to start with and I hate to pick one that will flop. I have about a $500 budget so I am looking for probably 10 or so games of various style and theme to pick up and I can let the guys have a selection and choose what they want to play when we meet.
Well the deal here is that this isn't really that much information to work with to get the specific games you want.

Obviously nobody wants a game that's going to fail, but it's really about the group you game with. They like Magic, but are they willing to learn games that make them think a lot more?

I would say go ask them and see what sort of games they would really like to play and go from there.

I do think however that games that are easy to learn, play pretty fast and have strategy that is pretty clear are games that are usually popular. With that said, I think The Resistance will probably be a hit in your group.

I personally would advise you against fully co-op games as they are fun, but their replay value is limited. I would also advise you against most war-games not that they are bad, but that they usually take a long time to play because of the constant destroying and rebuilding you do, the worst of them having player elimination.

Some of the more popular Euros might work: Agricola, Puerto Rico, Lords of Waterdeep, Race for the Galaxy, etc.
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Ascension: Deckbuilding Game, deckbuilder made by magic players love it, its free in the iTunes store now to try.

Dominion, love this one, it a blast to play.

Omen: A Reign of War, made by a magic player, great game (4 players).

Glory to Rome, Such a fun game. Rome demands you get this!

Note: I am a hardcore EDH player, so I understand your dilemma.
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Seconding something interactive like RoboRally or Battlestar Galactica.

Something quick and simple: Tsuro or Hey, That's My Fish!

Maybe something cooperative like Forbidden Desert?

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Matt Drown
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Some suggestions:

7 Wonders - Plays with 7 people, and is basically card drafting. If you like that from MTG, this game will be 45 minutes or less. As an added bonus, turns are simultaneous, so AP is more hidden.

Lords of Waterdeep + Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport - Quick worker placement game, a mechanic that is currently popular. Will play 6 with expansion. If you have and D&D history, the game will look nice, and have some references you like. Can suffer from AP issues in larger games. Play without expansion first, but quickly add them for interesting twists. Some direct interaction, but nothing as direct as combat in MTG.

Railways of the World - Will play up to 6 players. Completely different than MTG. But turns are multiple small turns in rotating order, so reduces AP issues down quite a bit in my experience (one turn is actually 3 actions done 1 at a time by all players). End result, 2-2.5 hours for a game, but little downtime for all players involved. Direct interaction is done by blocking players from getting to cities (at your expense), or by racing people to a destination for bonuses.

Pit - Ok, another odd one, but inexpensive, and gets the blood flowing. NO TURNS. The game is basically a card trading game with a lot of shouting. You trade sets of 2-3-4 cards with other similar sized cards to try to complete a complete set of one type of card. Games time is around 10 minutes. And a couple rounds of this at the start or end of a day will work wonders.

Others to look at:
Race for the Galaxy - 4 players, then add the first two expansions to get 5 and 6. Worth checking out at the base game level at the very least. Has some simultaneous decision making to reduce AP, little direct interaction (you try to leech off others actions).

Glory to Rome - very similar to style to RFTG above, but more chaotic, and a lot more direct interaction (steal cards, disrupt opponents directly, etc). IGNORE the cartoony style and just pick this up also due to cost.

The Manhattan Project - Another worker placement style game. Introduces some direct conflict (you can bomb peoples builds). Variable layout produces different games and strategies each time. Max of 5 players.

Saint Petersburg - Classic euro game with a lot of depth to it. Requires you to manage money for next turn and has multiple paths to victory, plays with 4, 5 with expansion.


If your players like the interaction and direct conflict of magic, you need to look for games that help provide that. If you like games where interaction is indirect, look for worker placement and similar.

Since you mentioned a $500 budget, I would actually only buy a couple, and see how they work and expand from there.

Start with 7 Wonders (drafting), Race for the Galaxy or Glory to Rome. Then pick Lords of Waterdeep, Manhattan Project, Railways of the World, or St Petersburg. Those three games will get you started and see what works for you. If you return and tell us what worked, and why you think it did, people can give you some suggestions to go look at from there.
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I think there are lots of great suggestions here but as as a long time MTG player myself I will cast my '+1' for these two titles as possibly the best 'crossing over from Magic games':

Dominion
Race for the Galaxy

Dominion involves essentially drafting and building a deck of cards as you are playing the deck. It offers the ability to setup and execute combos and lots of strategy. Magic players should find it extremely familiar yet novel at the same time. Like Magic it has spawned a genre of games and like Magic it is still the best of the genre.

Race for the Galaxy is up there with Magic in my all time top three. I recommend Dominion first only because Race is much more involved and has a steeper learning curve. It is well worth it, Dominion is just a better starting point. Anyways, After having had a chance to sample probably a couple hundred modern games over the last few years, Race is the only one that I've found that kinda scratches that Magic itch. It is a card game and otherwise bears no resemblance to Magic. However, like Magic, it keeps me constantly engaged, constantly studying my cards, studying my opponents cards, scheming, and generally feeling like every little decision can matter. There are multiple powers on nearly every card and to play any card you have to give up others so there are constantly lots of options to consider and hard decisions to be made. And all of that is packed into a game that takes less than an hour even with the analysis paralysis prone

Make sure to post back to let us know what you get and how it goes over!

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I came from the same place, mtg hardcore. I have two different suggestions:
1.- try boardgames that are deep enough like Power Grid, Puerto Rico, Agricola or The Princes of Florence, but they all suffer of AP (Analysis Paralysis).
2.- try more fun stuff like Catan, Ticket to Ride, Citadels or Carcassonne. Those are "lighter" games, but without of strategic deep.

Other option is to try LCG, and then I could recommend Android: Netrunner and A Game of Thrones: The Card Game.

Mtg players tend over analyze everything so is up to you guys to break those AP chains, good luck.

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Eric Mock
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I'm going to disagree with pretty much everything else that has been said so far. I'm going to tell you to stay away from card games. At first glance, it may seem like an easy transition from MTG, and that may be true, but I think you need a completely fresh approach.
The fact that your group had been playing MTG for so long makes me think that if you throw 5 other card games at them, then they are just going to burn out on those, also. Even though these new games will have little in common with MTG in terms of gameplay, your friends are still going to subconsciously lump them in with MTG and compare them with MTG. This could actually have the unintended effect of reigniting their MTG obsession. ("Well, if I'm gonna play cards, I'm just gonna play MTG.")
Your friends are obviously fine with (and enjoy) confrontation so I'm going to give you 5 games that are a lot of fun to play and that have player interaction in them to satiate their lust for gamer blood. I highly recommend you check out the BGG pages on these games and watch some review videos on them and choose one or two of them that sound like something you would have fun with.
I think the most important thing right now is to give them something completely new and fresh that is fun to play. Fun is the key. You can get into heavier games and think-ier games later as you figure out the tastes of your friends.
Also, I'm not going to suggest any "gateway" games. You and your friends are already hooked on games.. you've just been playing the same game for 6 years.
1- King of Tokyo Brutal, fun game of monster domination! Probably the most pure "fun" game I own. You will need other games if you get this, though. It's not very long and if you play it repeatedly you will surely burn out on it.
2- Ca$h 'n Gun$ Shoot your friends and gather the loot. Really fun game with 3 levels of play. I recommend up to level 2. Level 3 (the undercover cop and the pass-around phone card) are cumbersome and The Resistance or The Resistance: Avalon accomplish the same mechanic in a much, much better way.
3- Catacombs A dungeon crawl in which you flick wooden disks at each other. (Well, you flick them at other wooden disks, anyway.) This sounds really dumb until you are halfway through your first dungeon and having a blast.
4- Risk Legacy A recognizable name to draw them in, but the gameplay is not what you would expect. Instead of playing a week-long game of Risk like you remember, you play in mini-episodes which influence the game for the future. The game evolves over time, entirely dependent upon the actions your group makes along the way. Your friends that don't get in on this will be jealous of your friends that do.
5- A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) Alright. To be fair, this is a fairly complex and long game. Like, really long. But it is incredibly fun (especially if your group has at least seen the show), extremely interactive (translate: it is chock-full of backstabbing), and will live on in your memories long after the game has ended. I cannot recommend this highly enough if you have the patience to learn and play this.
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Marc Gaudet
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The three big ones I've been enjoying are:

Neuroshima Hex : This one is a close range combat game where you draw tiles each turn and make the best of them to try and destroy the opponents base (20 life) while defending your own. The direction and distance you place your units is fairly important making for much more strategic (and visual) combat setup. The art style is wicked, the different armies all play out differently and the game lenght is nice, short and easy with numbers.

2-4 players, ~30-60 mins per game

Alien Frontiers : This game is about using dice to gather ressource and be the first to build all their colonies on a planet at the center of the board. The location you take control over give you more utility over the building you use your dice in (think enchantments that everyone is fighting to gain control over) and the special cards you can use allow you to often modify dice and re-use dice (very blue-like). This game is all about being as efficient as possible and trying to finish building things before your opponents do. Also has very awesome artwork.

2-4 Players, ~45 mins-1h30 play time

Eclipse : This last entry is fairly heavy in content and lenght but not in complexity if you're used to playing magic. This game plays out a little like the videogame Starcraft (gather ressources, explore the map, attack and conquer) but turn based. A really cool feature about this game is that everyone has essentially access to the same things units (Small/Medium/Large) but customizes them with various combination of parts, counter-building to other's armies on the fly. This game lasts a fixed number of turns too which is nice for anyone who remembers playing never ending games of Risk and are looking for something more developped.

2-6 players ~2h-3h play time


And as someone mentioned earlier: Wiz-War is essentially a fantasy Magic/Capture the Flag hybrid. Some very tricky and creative card combos in this game ("a projective may travel around a corner", "you may cast your next spell as though you were on the other side of target wall" .


Cheers good luck finding the right games for you, there are many different kinds out there, try checking out the different categories of them.
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Ukla the Mock wrote:
I'm going to disagree with pretty much everything else that has been said so far. I'm going to tell you to stay away from card games. At first glance, it may seem like an easy transition from MTG, and that may be true, but I think you need a completely fresh approach.
The fact that your group had been playing MTG for so long makes me think that if you throw 5 other card games at them, then they are just going to burn out on those, also. Even though these new games will have little in common with MTG in terms of gameplay, your friends are still going to subconsciously lump them in with MTG and compare them with MTG. This could actually have the unintended effect of reigniting their MTG obsession. ("Well, if I'm gonna play cards, I'm just gonna play MTG.")
Your friends are obviously fine with (and enjoy) confrontation so I'm going to give you 5 games that are a lot of fun to play and that have player interaction in them to satiate their lust for gamer blood. I highly recommend you check out the BGG pages on these games and watch some review videos on them and choose one or two of them that sound like something you would have fun with.
I think the most important thing right now is to give them something completely new and fresh that is fun to play. Fun is the key. You can get into heavier games and think-ier games later as you figure out the tastes of your friends.
Also, I'm not going to suggest any "gateway" games. You and your friends are already hooked on games.. you've just been playing the same game for 6 years.
1- King of Tokyo Brutal, fun game of monster domination! Probably the most pure "fun" game I own. You will need other games if you get this, though. It's not very long and if you play it repeatedly you will surely burn out on it.
2- Ca$h 'n Gun$ Shoot your friends and gather the loot. Really fun game with 3 levels of play. I recommend up to level 2. Level 3 (the undercover cop and the pass-around phone card) are cumbersome and The Resistance or The Resistance: Avalon accomplish the same mechanic in a much, much better way.
3- Catacombs A dungeon crawl in which you flick wooden disks at each other. (Well, you flick them at other wooden disks, anyway.) This sounds really dumb until you are halfway through your first dungeon and having a blast.
4- Risk Legacy A recognizable name to draw them in, but the gameplay is not what you would expect. Instead of playing a week-long game of Risk like you remember, you play in mini-episodes which influence the game for the future. The game evolves over time, entirely dependent upon the actions your group makes along the way. Your friends that don't get in on this will be jealous of your friends that do.
5- A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) Alright. To be fair, this is a fairly complex and long game. Like, really long. But it is incredibly fun (especially if your group has at least seen the show), extremely interactive (translate: it is chock-full of backstabbing), and will live on in your memories long after the game has ended. I cannot recommend this highly enough if you have the patience to learn and play this.


I'm going to disagree with the dissenter's opinion on this one; the core issue here is...

Gilgilad wrote:
Hey guys, I am a fairly hardcore magic the gathering player, been playing with a group of my old college friends (about 15 people) 2-3 times a week for the last 6 years. Unfortunately, I have recently gotten extremely burned out on the game, and so have my friends. One of the main problem we are having is certain players taking way too long of turns during multiplayer games and really dragging down the whole game. Now when I send text messages out for game night...


The problem is not Magic: the Gathering itself, and reigniting the M:tG "obsession" is probably not an unwanted side effect if it means getting everyone together again. The problem here would be any game where players are allowed to play "solitaire" for extended periods of time. Others have mentioned (rightly, as the OP confirms later) that "analysis paralysis" is also what's killing the game's time frame, and inadvertently the game group.

That said, I will NOT recommend Dominion or 7 Wonders. Min-maxing is what caused problems in the group in the first place, and Dominion rewards players who can min-max their decks to 99% combo efficiency. 7 Wonders requires all players to have decided on what they're drafting before revealing, so any player who decides too long will cause the same problem.

What would I recommend? Believe it or not, after all that talk about dissenting against the dissenter, I would recommend games 1-4 from his list, with game 5 when the group is more comfortable coming together again. As I was thinking about choices, the above list nailed the hallmarks needed to avoiding "analysis paralysis," namely...

- immediate decision making (reduces AP)
- meaningful decision making (otherwise the game plays you)
- play beyond the mechanics (to bring back interactivity)

This doesn't mean that card games are completely out the window. I was personally going to recommend Smash Up, as it has served the group I play with well, but without knowing how bad the AP actually is, I am not so sure if this is the right fit... yet.
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Michael Wong
United States
Daly City
California
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2 games I haven't seen mentioned:

Red Dragon Inn - plays like a very lighthearted mtg and you can use it as a drinking game. I have only played with 4 players but there are expansions that allow 8 (or possibly more players).

Telestrations - If I have 8-10 players I'm getting this to the table just because it's so fun. Also there is no issue with analysis paralysis... you can spend 10 minutes playing a round then laugh for more than 10 minutes reviewing answers.

By the way, I used to have a blast playing magic as a team cube draft. Draft is key because otherwise you can end up playing against solitaire decks, and I can understand why people will stop coming to large multiplayer games.
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