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Subject: Two quite different recommendations needed rss

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While we have a nice collection, there are a few points where we still find it lacking and want to enhance it with something new. More specifically, we are looking for a recommendation on:
- a game that has its focus on development (of a city, realm, farm, whatever)
- a game that is similar to A few acres of snow (including theme) but provides more options/depth

It may sound easy to recommend me something, but trust me - it is not.

1) The 'development' game
We already own quite some games of that category. However, all of them have some shortcomings. Ideally, we (read: my wife) would prefer a game that comes with:
- no/little conflict, especially without military conflicts (ruling out Civ-like games)
- exploration (again: without conflict)
- no artificial limit on available actions (like Agricola does, for example)
- great theme (we are no die-hard euro-lovers, so this point is important)

We played some of the newer (meaning: released after Agricola) euros, but most of them just felt 'okay' rather than being a real hit. An exception is Terra Mystica, which was 'nice' but still didn't manage summon this 'OMG, I need to own it RIGHT NOW' feeling.


2) The 'similar to a Few acres of Snow' game
We own A few acres of Snow (2nd edition), and while its kind of a love-hate-relationship (especially true for the wife) we do like it. Given the fact that my wife likes the setting (despite depicting a war), we wondered if there is something similar out there, expanding on both the development/settlement aspect and the warfare aspect, ideally with both of them being a viable winning strategy for both sides.

On a side note, this is a drawback of A few acres of Snow: I only managed one victory with the British side so far, going for all out war. Every other attempt (peaceful settling, aggressive border-defense and raids to cover settling, turtling and settling) was easily countered by the French. I do not mind playing all-out war, but I prefer having some other viable strategies at my disposal as well. So far, this is only true for the French side, but not for the British side.
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Gamer D

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I was surprised you don't have Suburbia listed in your collection. It's a great city development tile laying game that works well with two to four players. Might want to check it out.
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Thanee
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1) There should be a few games out there, that fit...

Nations is a civ-style game, but specifically built without direct player conflict. There is some conflict, but it is handled in a rather abstract fashion and there are several ways to address it (it is also possible to counteract them while having zero military). It does not have exploration, though.

Archipelago could be worth a look. Though, I havn't played this one, yet.

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game might also fit the bill. It has conflict, but no player-versus-player conflict, since it is fully cooperative. Its exploration aspect and theme are absolutely top notch.

2) Well, this is not so easy...

The only one that I can think of, and it's not even close to being similar is Clash of Cultures (another civ-game). It's pretty much a mix between your 1) and 2). It definitely has conflict, but it's not necessary to follow a military strategy to win the game. It has exploration, settling, development, and all that. And there are multiple, different pathes to victory, too.

Bye
Thanee
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David Debien
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1: Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery - but it doesn't play well with 2 unfortunately. Was not sure if you ever get to play with more. This one hits most of your points quite nicely otherwise.

2: Trains
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Kevin Eastwood
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For #1:
Archipelago- has the exploration and building you're looking for, but does have player interaction - and in fact requires this in order to not have the rebels take over. Limitations on actions are governed by how much exploring has been done (more exploring = more workers to place). Beautiful components and thematic. Highly enjoyable game and is one of my go to when I'm in the mood for this type of game.

I'd also suggest Antiquity- yes it's pricy and hard to find, but for a Civ building game, that's very tough, limited player interaction (there is some), and limit of actions is based on population and buildings you've constructed. Thematically this is a darker game, building your civilization, polluting lands, limited food increase graves in your cities, etc. You can feel the struggle of your civilization as you play.

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Gregg Saruwatari
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Race for the galaxy fits both categories except for a historical theme. It my wife's favorite.
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Nathan Bergom
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Interesting set of criteria.

The first thing that comes to my mind is Last Will. It's an economic engine development in reverse, in that you're trying to burn through all of your money the fastest. If you play with the lower starting money, it may feel limited, as you have to go broke exactly (no debt allowed!), but with higher starting money, it's a matter of building the best money-draining engine possible.

There's not much direct conflict; the indirect conflict is based on a worker-placement phase where you can snag cards that your opponent was hoping for, or manipulate the real estate market to benefit you and hurt your opponent when buying and selling houses.

It does have a nifty theme, being essentially based off the 1902 novel Brewster's Millions. The artwork has a lovely 1900s Great Gatsby look to it.

The second game that I think might work for you is Saint Petersburg. It's another economic engine game, but much more straightforward. The theme isn't terribly strong, except that it can be fun to see what kind of cities people end up with. "You have two firehouses, a pub, a Mistress of Ceremonies, a secretary, and a chamber maid? Just what kind of neighborhood is this?"
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Thomas Lang
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+1 Suburbia

I'll also throw Glass Road in the ring. Quick playing economic game with a neat card mechanism thrown in for good measure. (beware of the broken building, though, and you should be fine )

As far a warfare is concerned, why not go for number one? Twilight Struggle
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Archipelago by a certain Mr Boelinger who created Earth Reborn for your development game without a doubt.
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Zach Tedford
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Try Clash of Cultures.

Looks like you are looking for something very specific, but..Clash is a Civ building game, and when you stated that you wanted options for victory it made me think of Clash of Cultures.

The victory point system allows you to pursue either warfare type victories or you can focus on your civilization and advancement.

Not sure if it is what you are looking for, but it is what came to mind on reading the OP.

Also you should probably take my opinion for a grain of salt as I have not played Clash yet.I will be purchasing and playing soon, but I have read and watched multiple reviews, so I don't feel bad recommending it.
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Tero Oksala
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About your first question.

I would recommend Mage Knight Board Game.

- It works with or without conflict. No problem with that.

- Exploration element through the map tiles.

- Character developes during the exploration.

- Limitation to action is from cards (options increase when character develops), but usually there are so many things to do and hard choices need to made.

- Expansions available

- Variation through the map tiles and cards

- One kind of economy element is uncluded with crystals

- Several different game and map styles
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Mitch Willis
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For your first requirement, you might want to check out:
Francis Drake: develop and equip a ship for 3 different explorations; no direct conflict with other players

Kingsburg: build up your part of the kingdom to protect the people with the use of advisors; no direct conflict with other players...

London: city building by card drafting, same designer as A Few Acres of Snow; no military conflict...

For your second requirement, perhaps:
Antike Duellum: 2-player civ-lite style game w/development, settling, and fighting...but there are many ways to score points without fighting and the fighting can be expensive resource wise...

Endeavor: colonial development game with exploration; while there can be direct military conflict, it is costly to do so...in our games thus far it does occur but not often, as it's usually not the focus of most of the players and many times not worth the resource cost...

Age of Empires III: another colonial development game with exploration & settling; again there can be direct military conflict and it does occur (usually more towards the end game)...but many times military build-up in this game leads more to a detente situation than lots of battles...

Nations: civ card game where war and military are more streamlined and can be countered; while wars can be started with a specific opponent in mind, there's no direct conflict among the players...

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Thanee
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teroks wrote:
I would recommend Mage Knight Board Game.


I was going to recommend that one, too... but he has it already.

Bye
Thanee
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Scot Duvall
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Junkfoot wrote:


I'll also throw Glass Road in the ring. ... (beware of the broken building, though, and you should be fine )



What do you mean by "the broken building"? Is there a game flaw or is this an element to watch out for? I ask because this is a likely purchase
 
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Moe45673
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It's hard to recommend something without an artificial turn limiting thing (or actions or whatever).

I think Archipelago is a great suggestion and probably best what you're looking for. I'll throw one in for Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island as well, though I'm unsure if it lives up to all your criteria but it does seem to be what you're looking for (highly thematic, developing an engine, co-op so no conflict, etc).

For number 2: look at Polis: Fight for the Hegemony. It takes place during the wars between Athens and Sparta in the 5th century BCE. Like AFAoS, it's ostensibly about a war and it takes place on what looks like a wargame map.

Wait a second, is that a trading market I see on the left side of the board?


Those who have played it have described it as Agricola in wargame clothing..... only it is not a wargame but people think it is. It's a resource management/area control euro. You can fight but fighting is VERY expensive.... plus, just having your units and your opponent's units in the same territory is not enough to trigger a battle. You can expand (not easy) but each new city you get means you have to feed the population with more wheat.... which is also very difficult to get.

Oh, also, there are 4 rounds and a round ends when both players pass, meaning the players drive the length of the game.

Read this review, which is what sold me on it: Polis: a game deserving a wider audience.
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Wow, thanks for all the recommendations so far!
I'll go through them step by step, adding some honest comments, after spending multiple hours reading reviews and having a look at the components.

Suburbia: has been mentioned at least twice, however, it looks a bit... dry. It could fit, but it does not look or sound (from reviews) like a instant buy but rather like a 'try before buy'.

Nations: we already own Through the ages. It's a good game, but tends to be a bit on the dry side. Nations does not sound that much different, except it's a bit easier too teach - which basically doesn't matter as we play it exclusively with only the two of us.

Archipelago: we played it some time ago. Given the fact that I rate Earth Reborn a 10 it's needless to say that I had VERY high expectations. Archipelago was far from meeting those expectations - it felt like 'just another euro' with a bit exploring. I really tried to like it, but in the end... it was disappointing.

LotR: The Card Game: played it once (three scenarios) and it felt like a puzzle game. Build the perfect deck(s) to beat the scenario, then continue to the next scenario. Repeat. Plus: we own Netrunner, Warhammer Invasion and Game of Thrones - to be honest, that's already more than enough Living Card Games.

Clash of Cultures: I look at this game with interest since its release, but there is one point that keeps me from really considering it as candidate for a purchase: we already own the FFG Civ including the expansion. And Clash of Cultures sounds VERY similar, including required time investment (and we only rarely play Civ - too much other long games here sitting on the shelves...)

Glenn Drover's Empires: The age of discovery: out of print, but yes, this could work. Played it myself about 3? years ago and always thought that this could be a game my wife will like. It's noted as 'should be purchased if ever stumbled upon'. ^^

Trains: sounds interesting from what I read so far, but it does not trigger the 'must own' switch. Like Suburbia, it's now on the 'try before buy' list.

Antiquity: well... ehm... we already own it. I liked it very much after the first play, then played it a second time with a die-hard euro-fan. Now I'm kind of shying away from playing it again because the second play was... super-dry. And for me, 3-4 hours of super-dry gameplay is not fun. Maybe I should give it a third try...

Race for the Galaxy:
we also own it, and played it often over the years. Nowadays we moved on to The new era (plus Winter expansion) if we want a short yet complex card game.

Last Will: hm... not convinced. It's definitely a new take on the genre, but somehow... If given the possibility to play, I'll give it a try. It may surprise me, who knows.

Saint Petersburg: played it once, some years ago. If I rememeber correctly, it was okay-ish, but not outstanding. Meaning, in the (rare) occassions we want to play a VP-generating euro, we would very likely overgo it in our shelve, letting it sit there to collect dust layer over dust layer.

Glass Road: rather no. We still haven't really 'maxed out' Agricola, which is the game we turn to when we are looking for a good euro with theme. Ora et labora was okay, but had less theme and a more prominent feel of playing solely for victory points.

Twilight Struggle: we already own it. But, again some honest comments: I found it pretty boring (maybe due to errors?) - a card driven area control/majority game. 3 or 4 hours of card playing with no real progress, because every 'permanent' card has to be discarded after playing (because of the asteriks always accompanying underlined cards). This was a MAJOR drawback - maybe it would have been better if we could achieve ANY progress, for example by establishing the NATO.
If you guys have the impression we got something crucial crucially wrong, I'm happy to learn (probably best per PM, not in the thread here .

Mage Knight: yes, as noted correctly, we already own it. Really enjoyed it the first time, enjoyed the second time, became slightly annoyed by the possibilty to calculate every combat, movement and so on (except face-down tokens). For us, it did not replace Runebound as best fantasy boardgame.

Francis Drake: apart from the high amount of bidding and bluffing in the first phase of the game (not exactly a favorite of ours ^^) very interesting with a very interesting setting. This could be a potential candidate, if further investigation is promising.

Kingsburg: played it some years ago. Not enough differentiation between the players in the end - everybody had everything. Nice artwork, but apart from that I remember it being pretty average.

Antike Duellum: sounds very interesting. If further investigation is promising, a potential candidate for a purchase. This sounds as if it could nicely expand the experience A few acres of Snow provides.

London: not yet looked into it

Endeavor: 3+ players only is a big drawback, sadly. Otherwise it could have fitted the bill - had it on my radar when it was released but dropped it back then because of exactly the same reason. Minimum 3 players - most of the time, we have only 2 players available.

Robinson Crusoe: we already own it. Good game, but we (read: I) don't want to play coops all the time. A healthy dose of conflict, tanks, explosions and competition is quite enjoyable from time to time.

Polis: Fight for the Hegemony: okay, you got me. But you did not persuade my wife (being attacked in game that is said to be extremly hard thus ruining everything you struggled to achieve so far is something that does not sound like fun to her). However, if I find another person willing to give this game a try, I still might buy it. Sounds very intriguing.


So, that's it finally. Thanks again for all your recommendations!
I'm fully aware of the fact that now it's probably virtually impossible to recommend me anything at all...
... but that's exactly the point why I'm here. We recognized that something IS missing in our collection, but we are not able to put the finger on WHAT exactly is missing. As I said: it's hard.
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Mitch Willis
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Perturabo wrote:
Endeavor: 3+ players only is a big drawback, sadly. Otherwise it could have fitted the bill - had it on my radar when it was released but dropped it back then because of exactly the same reason. Minimum 3 players - most of the time, we have only 2 players available.


Sorry, I should have mentioned that there's an official 2-player variant (by the designers) as well as an unofficial 2-player variant (by a fan of the game) and both of them work well and have been very well received. They're located here:

Official Variant: 2 Player Endeavor

Unofficial Variant: Faster, Friendlier 2-Player Endeavor

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Thanks for elaborating on the 2-player-suitability of Endeavor. It now entered the arena together with Antike Duellum and Polis: Fight for the Hegemony.

As a step up in complexity (and hopefully amount of viable strategies) from A few acres of Snow I found Wilderness War and 1812: Invasion of Canada. Do they fit my criteria formulated initially (deeper in both development/settlement and warfare strategical options) or do they drop the development/settlement aspect in favor of 'realistic' simulation of warfare and tactics?
And in case they could be an option - are they still available? I had to learn that in the CoSim-genre one should ideally follow the maxim 'buy and try' because of often very limited stocks.
 
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Morten K
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Perhaps not strictly following the rules you set out for 1. but do have a look at Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy. It's not really a game of exploration as such and you do have a limited amount of turns. But don't let that scare you off. It oozes theme and the theme and mechanics fit perfectly. And it's not too expensive either
 
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Dan King
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Might want to look at Boxcars, the long awaited reprint of the classic Rail Baron game by AH. Actually Rail Baron was a slightly edited version of the original Boxcars, so now the game has come full circle. I get mine today, so look for a comparison between versions soon, since I have all three versions.
,
 
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jonathan schleyer
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What about Navegadoror Goa?
 
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Moe45673
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Perturabo wrote:
Thanks for elaborating on the 2-player-suitability of Endeavor. It now entered the arena together with Antike Duellum and Polis: Fight for the Hegemony.

As a step up in complexity (and hopefully amount of viable strategies) from A few acres of Snow I found Wilderness War and 1812: Invasion of Canada. Do they fit my criteria formulated initially (deeper in both development/settlement and warfare strategical options) or do they drop the development/settlement aspect in favor of 'realistic' simulation of warfare and tactics?
And in case they could be an option - are they still available? I had to learn that in the CoSim-genre one should ideally follow the maxim 'buy and try' because of often very limited stocks.


I've played AFAoS, 1812 and its similar relative, 1775. AFAoS definitely is more what you're looking for. Development/Settlement actions are nonexistent in 1812 and barely touched upon in 1775. Neither is realism/simulation and both games have much, much simpler rules than AFAoS. I love both 1812/1775 but I think one of their relative downsides is that they look much more serious than they are. OTOH, after my first game of 1812 with my wife, I was able to point at the gameboard and say "Look, Wife, you've just played and understood a wargame" which I think helped break down a fear that the boardgames I love must be complicated

But I digress. Watch Tom Vasel's reviews on 1812 and 1775 (in that order) to decide for yourself.

Also, both 1812 and 1775, from what I can tell, are not going OOP anytime soon
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Thomas Lang
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ScottNotSteve wrote:
Junkfoot wrote:


I'll also throw Glass Road in the ring. ... (beware of the broken building, though, and you should be fine )



What do you mean by "the broken building"? Is there a game flaw or is this an element to watch out for? I ask because this is a likely purchase


There is one building (see errata on the games page) that can generate an unlimited flow of a certain resource but it's no biggie, you can just remove it from the game and the rest ist perfectly fine. Highly recommended game!
 
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Thanee
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Dunno about Glass Road. It's a bit too much brooding over your cards.

Turn 1

Brood over cards (5 minutes)
Execute game turn (1 minute)

Turn 2

Brood over cards (5 minutes)
Execute game turn (1 minute)

etc.

Bye
Thanee
 
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Ruud
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You sure you aren't looking for Caverna? Haven't played it myself, bit it deems agricola 2.0. Lot less limiting.
 
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