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Subject: Through the Desert or Kingdom Builder? (Or other abstract) rss

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Nick Hotep
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I don't care for abstract games personally, but some in my group enjoy them, so I concluded I wanted to have one on hand.

Ideally handles 3 or more players, plays in an hour or so, and is easy to teach. A scintilla of theme is welcome.

The two mentioned above seem like good candidates. I am probably going to grab Hive for pure 2-player contests. If I had to go with my gut I'd pick Though the Desert; I've always admired Go, the theme is (ironically) not as dry as Kingdom Builder, and the little camels are adorable.
 
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Nate Straight

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Through The Desert has very little to do with Go, just so you know.

It is, however, a great great game.
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Scott Nelson
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More variety in Kingdom Builder, but they are not much alike from my experience. TtD is a lot shorter with a full compliment.
 
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David B
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Through the Desert is fairly hard to find. I prefer Through the Desert but certainly do not mind Kingdom Builder. If you get Kingdom Builder, I would also get the Crossroads expansion.

May I suggest one other?

I find China scratches the same itch as Kingdom Builder, but I find China to be vastly superior. China, however, needs 3 players minimum (it plays 3 to 5). BUT, Michael Schacht is releasing Han at some point this year which is a reworking of China with a couple of extra ways to score and it actually plays with 2.
 
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Miguel
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Toronto
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China is indeed a great game. Abstract, but plays in 30 minutes and is lots of fun. Not much variety game to game, however.

Through the desert Is also a very good game, but be warned that it' severe hard on colorblind players, or even anybody else in poor light.

My vote is on kingdom builder. I really enjoy it, and it has variety in spades. Both this and TTD are available on iOS if you have access to one of those devices, so you could try them out inexpensively.
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George Kinney
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The 'it's like Go' chestnut still has legs? I would've thought that would have faded by now given the fact that "Through The Desert" has nothing in common with "Go" other than in placing pieces on a board.

It's a good game in its own right, but I'd go with "Kingdom Builder" myself. It plays quickly (15-20 minutes is the norm for two players), the variations in boards, powers, and scoring rules keep it fresh.
 
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Joe
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I've played both on iOS. I prefer Kingdom Builder. I now own the cardboard version of KB with both expansions. Highly recommended. Replay-ability through the roof.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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I own or have owned both. I really didn't enjoy Through the Desert, but I'm not particularly an abstract guy. One or two plays was about all I could get out of it. Kingdom Builder, on the other hand, keeps me interested from game to game because the goals, boards, and abilities change every time. Easy to teach. Fun to play. One of my favorite gateway games...
 
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Through the Desert is a much better and deeper game. It does resemble Go, as both games are about surrounding territory with your pieces. There are few other games with this mechanic. I found Kingdom Builder to be much less interesting, as the area aspect of Through the Desert is what makes it a superb game. Go with your gut on this one.
 
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Michael J
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I enjoy KB and China. And recently I've played Tash Kalar and really enjoyed that as well. It has decent theme, but is abstract at heart. Other fun abstract games are Taluva (beautiful as well) and Tigris & Euphrates.
 
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Nick Hotep
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So I tried Through the Desert and Kingdom Builder on iOS and didn't care for either.

I think highly abstract games just aren't my thing. Thanks for the suggestions, folks.
 
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Nate Straight

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Professor Phobos wrote:
So I tried Through the Desert and Kingdom Builder on iOS and didn't care for either.

I think highly abstract games just aren't my thing. Thanks for the suggestions, folks.


To be fair, any game is going to seem even more abstract when played on a computer.
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Paul Agapow
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agent easy wrote:
China is indeed a great game. Abstract, but plays in 30 minutes and is lots of fun. Not much variety game to game, however.

Through the desert Is also a very good game, but be warned that it' severe hard on colorblind players, or even anybody else in poor light.

My vote is on kingdom builder. I really enjoy it, and it has variety in spades. Both this and TTD are available on iOS if you have access to one of those devices, so you could try them out inexpensively.


Quoted for truth on all points.

* China: lovely game, but each game is more or less the same

* TTD: the colors are a problem. Even if you don't have colorblindness, taking in the board can be a trial.

* KB: fast, lots of variety, easy to example, easy to buy. It's probably your best choice.
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Thomas Lajeunesse
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Just to say that I agree with the comparison Through the Desert / Go. Both are about placing non moving pieces (although in Go they can be captured) to surrounder territory space.
And this similar feeling has been confirmed by a friend of mine who is a licensed go player (and she easily won all her TtD games with us).

They are two different games indeed, but have enough things in common for go players to feel "at home".
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I have a friend at our monthly meetups that is pretty highly ranked in Go, and he has mentioned that Through the Desert is similar to it.

As for Through the Desert and Kingdom Builder, both are similar to each other. Kingdom Builder has more variety with different board layouts, special abilities, and end game scoring conditions. But you're also drawing cards to determine where to play, so there is randomness involved.

Through the Desert is completely deterministic. The board has some variability in where the different point values and trees end up, but the landscape never changes.

So that's basically the deciding factor - more board variety with luck involved in the gameplay, or less board variety with zero luck.
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