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Subject: Please RANK the following for a Noob about to take the plunge: rss

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Darrin Miedema
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Hey BGG community! This is my first post to a forum of any kind, so hopefully you guys won't let me down.

I'm pretty new to this crazy world of board gaming. I've played Ticket to Ride and Settlers hundreds of times and love them both, but probably prefer settlers because each individual decision has more impact. The strategy feels deeper. Recently, I bought King of Tokyo, Carcassonne, and The Resistance to try to get more of my friends in to gaming with some lighter games. (Not that TTR and Settlers are heavy...but for people who don't think they like games they seem heavy) I've been reading reviews and rule books and am gearing up to make a purchase for some more games, probably 4 or 5 with a budget of under $150.

I'm trying to keep my wife, and my group of friends in mind. It's a diverse group, with some who will love deep strategy, and others who need lighter, crazy/fun games. I'd like all the games to scratch a different itch. I personally am drawn to strategy. I was REALLY excited to get Caylus, and right before I was ready to pull the trigger, CSI ran out and they said it's now out of print. So...I need some help deciding as this will be the last order I place for some time, and I want all of these games to be big hits (obviously).

Here's the list I'm working from (based on what's available on CSI). Please rank and explain why, and also offer other suggestions. I'm not just looking for a ranking of which games are the best, but which games go the best together in an almost bare game collection.

Puerto Rico
Agricola
Castles of Burgundy
Power Grid
Pandemic
Small World
Cosmic Encounter
Survive: Escape from Atlantis

I also was really wanting Lords of Waterdeep and Caylus, but both are unavailable on CSI currently. If you're feeling really ambitious, you could tell me where you think these would fit in your ranking.

THANKS!!!
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'Arctica' Gary
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I started with Power Grid, so I recommend that. But after having played through the others, I'd say this:

1. Survive: Escape from Atlantis
2. Pandemic
--------
3. Power Grid
4. SmallWorld
--------
5. Castles of Burgundy
6. Agricola
7. Puerto Rico
8. Cosmic Encounter
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Johan Haglert
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nfcnorth35 wrote:
Puerto Rico
Agricola
Castles of Burgundy
Power Grid
Pandemic
Small World
Cosmic Encounter
Survive: Escape from Atlantis

I also was really wanting Lords of Waterdeep and Caylus, but both are unavailable on CSI currently. If you're feeling really ambitious, you could tell me where you think these would fit in your ranking.
THANKS!!!
OOP as in can't be ordered right now or as in gone? It recently got a new look so seem kinda weird it would be gone forever.

Amazon have sellers for both.

I've tried Lords of Waterdeep once, really liked it.

I've considered Caylus, may get it. If I remember correctly there's nothing which changes the game from game to game though? But I guess it can be played quite some times anyway.

As for ratings I think going with the BGG ones is one way of doing it. What I like to do is check the graphs to get a distribution check too.

PR is good.

I would get Caverna rather than Agricola now and may get both myself (have Agricola), mostly because it's a newer design and maybe you meet people who got Agricola already anyway.

I haven't played Castles of Burgundy.

Power grid is quite popular in our group, I've only played it once, I think it's rather slow and that it's a little weird how who goes first turn around within a turn but I guess I would get used to that and that it has its purpose

I haven't played Pandemic. Would assume it's decent for a casual group who want a co-op.

Small world is decent. I think it get slowish at 4-5 players.

Cosmic Encounter I have played a little too little, rated it not all that great with quite high expectations, I found the rules there a little hard / weird (as for what bonuses you get for participation mostly) but it's definitely no biggie. I seriously believe that could be more fun than Pandemic because even if some people want to "co-op" a little they have the chance in CE.. for the time being..

I haven't played Survive.

CE, Caverna, LoW/C & Smallworld? (Can't believe I say Smallworld though ..)

How many players?

Drop Caverna for Survive or possibly Pandemic if you want lighter games maybe?


I don't have that much experience.
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Liam
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Buy the games that you think will get played. If people think TTR is complicated then you need to be very very careful with what you buy!

If I were required to organise these I'd do so thusly:

Weighty Games
Puerto Rico
Agricola
Power Grid

Lighter Games:
Castles of Burgundy (debatable I know)
Survive: Escape from Atlantis

PVP games
Cosmic Encounter
Small World

Cooperative
Pandemic

Now a wee review:
Pandemic: Is a light cooperative and It's the game I'd most recommend on your list... It's also one of the games I'd most recommend period.

Small World: Is a fairly simple conquer the map game with variable powers and no-player elimination. If you're looking for light silly combat game then it worth considering. (lots of folk don't like conflict games so I'd consider if your group will.)

Cosmic Encounter: Is basically poker in space with variable player powers and negotiation being a major factor. It's a great game but requires an active and interested group - more demanding than small world but with the right people more captivating too.

Survive: Escape from Atlantis: Simply wee game... I personally find it really nasty and irritating. I'd recommend The Downfall of Pompeii instead.

Castles of Burgundy: Hugely respected game... I've only played it twice. I'd consider Kingsburg as something lighter that might better suit. Step up from Catan but still works as a gateway - it'll tickle you but still be appropriate for the group.

Heavy games:

I'd strongly recommend you only select one of these... if you must.

Puerto Rico is IMO the easiest of them to play. If it's a hit then the other two are worth considering. Agricola with the 'family rules' is also a possibility... tread carefully.

Random recommendation:
Dixit Lovely party game.
Catan: Cities & Knights Makes Catan far better IMO.
+1 Lords of Waterdeep (Would fit into my lighter games above.)
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2019 BGG CCE open!
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Agricola has a ton of replayability, and scales well (even solo), so if you want it, get it. It is heavier than King of Tokyo, TTR, Settlers, but if you're interested in something Caylus-weight, then it's a solid choice.

For a little lighter (and more attack-ey), Small World might work with your group of friends. If you have an attack-ey group, Survive is another good choice.

Pandemic is good, and a co-operative game can be a unique experience, as long as you have the right personalities (someone's not telling everyone what to do).

I really like Castles of Burgundy, it's one of my favorites and it's very affordable. I like the variable setup, the different boards and different strategies, rolling the dice, and making good chains of actions. Minimal direct interaction.

You have a good list of games, it's more about the player count and amount of direct interaction you're looking for.
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Roberto Pinheiro
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Get:
1. Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Best light game I own. I played several heavy games and still enjoy this one.

2. Castles of Burgundy
Awesome euro.

3. Puerto Rico
Incredible easy to learn but with lots of strategy.

Not sure:
Agricola
Misery farm. Run for food and struggle for survive.

Power Grid
Never played. Liked the Factory Manager one.

Pandemic
Never played. But played Forbidden Island and Desert. Both kind of a cooperative puzzle... If you like that style the games are good, if not... Keep distance.

Do not get:
Small World
Main strategy: pretend you are harmless. Not good enough.

Cosmic Encounter
Meh... Don't really know why people liked this one.
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Thomas Dunagan
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d10-1 Agricola
d10-2 Survive: Escape from Atlantis
d10-3 Pandemic
d10-4 Small World
d10-5 Castles of Burgundy

This is a pretty good variety of games. Personally I would probably switch Pandemic for Flash Point. I would also recommend a cheap card game like Bohnanza, Love Letter, or maybe the Resistance: Avalon
 
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Geoff
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Well, ok. With bonus Caylus and Lords of Waterdeep included:

Power Grid - One of the first games I picked up, and although I haven't had an interested group to play with recently, I still absolutely love it
Cosmic Encounter - Another early acquisition, fairly unique, and very fun
Caylus - In spite of perhaps feeling a little dry and abstract, it is a really good time
Survive: Escape from Atlantis - If you don't mind playing nasty, this is great. If people try not to step on each other's toes, pass.
Pandemic - A great one to start with, and it has had a lot of longevity for a lot of people. I tired of it after 8-10 games without On the Brink, but the expansion woke it back up for me.
Castles of Burgundy - Cool little game, but nothing too groundbreaking for me. Stefan Feld's Macao and Luna are what I'd look for first, but neither is available at CSI right now.
Agricola - Agricola itself would probably be a couple spots higher for me, but with Caverna apparently becoming available again soon (CSI is taking preorders for March/April), I'd pass on Agricola. Caverna would be in the 2nd or 3rd spot from the top of this list for me)
Small World - I've happily played it about 3 or 4 times when others have suggested it. I've had fun every time, but I never have a compulsion to play again.
Lord of Waterdeep - This is the first game on the list that I would only play if nothing else was going on. Yeah, it was pretty ok, but there are so many Euros that are so much more interesting to me.
Puerto Rico - Played once a while back, and I wish I could tell you what I didn't like about it. But I don't remember.
 
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Moe45673
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I wrote this just yesterday:

Moe45673 wrote:
I played Small World for my first time last week at a meetup, though I have played it a few times on iOS prior. The game was 5p with strangers.

As someone who loves him some heavier games, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Small World. It reminded me of Risk only without the length and bad luck annoyances. The decisions of how far you can push your race, both in a given turn and how long until you send them into decline, are quite interesting and very reminiscent of the major decisions (that lie on shaky foundations) in Risk. I also think that how the die is used in SW is a brilliant touch, the icing on the cake. The game might not be a brainburny mathfest, but it does present you with some interesting decisions on almost every turn.

Now, I've only played it once so who knows what time spent with it would tell me. OTOH, I'm not new to boardgames and have played quite a few of the highly ranked ones. If I wanted to round up 4 Risk-lovers for a boardgame night, I think Small World would be a hit; it's excellent at what it does.

With 5p, though, you definitely want at least 1 expansion. We had to start recycling races (though they did have new powers) by the last quarter of the game

So yeah, get Small World.

Caylus does not change from game to game but so what? Neither does Chess. I don't particularly like Chess but Caylus is Chess for Eurogamers. I'd say 3 is where it plays best, 2 is great, 4 is cool, and 5 is don't touch it with this number what the f is wrong with you. I love Caylus. Heck, Chicago Express is one of my favorites and that doesn't change either. You know what's great about these games? Negotiations. The parry and the thrust. The reactions to your opponents. Each game plays and feels differently because they ARE. However, this is not a game to introduce to newbs. It's a game to play with 2 other hardcores over and over

Agricola is fantastic. If one person knows the rules well I think it can be introduced to almost anyone, rule complexity aside. It seems to just click with most (at least the family version)

 
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Lucas Smith
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I don´t know all games of your list, but to me Agricola seems pretty difficult (not ruleswise, but in a strategic/tactical way)! Nevertheless, it is a great game with great material! I consider Puerto Rico, Pandemic, Power Grid (btw, also consider Power Grid: Factory Manager here, I have recenty acquired it), Caylus, Small World and Castles of B. to be easier than Agricola (Haven´t played the others yet).
IMO Pandemic is most different to the other ones, so for a wide collection, I´d include this one!

Oh yes, welcome to bgg!!
 
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Chris
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Well I'm not going to RANK the games, but I'd say I'm a recent ex-noob. I'm *just* getting a decent footing in this world, and have come toa point where I'm looking to avoid "gateway" games and all that. Not to exclude them, but to find a few heavier, deeper things if I can and not be buying things I might not want to go near in 12 months time.

That said, Small World is ACE. BUY IT. It's really friendly without being pointless. It had a normal shaped board, it does have some marginal die rolls. It's accessible to the masses I think, and gives a really good hint at what else might be out there.

Burgundy is good, but *IF* it matters it's cheap and looks cheap. And so far I think that's affecting my view of it. If I treat it as a slightly heavier game than I have before I think I'll enjoy it more and get more out of it.

Pandemic.... the idea of a co op game IS weird to n00bs. You NEVER EVER see them in mass market games, and people here really forget how strange that is to a non gamer.

Agricola and Puerto Rico are for the future, but I'd think Power Grid is next in line after Small World.
 
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Cosmic
Agricola
Burgundy
Survive
Power Grid
Small World
Pandemic
Puerto Rico (skip this, go directly to Race for the Galaxy)

Skip Caylus and Waterdeep. They occupy much the same space as Agricola and are not as good. Caylus is good though so see if you can play it somehow. If you dig it buy it.

Add Bohnanza to this list.
 
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Excellent:
1. Cosmic Encounter
2. Power Grid
3. Pandemic

Good:
1. Small World
2. Survive
3. Agricola
4. Castles of Burgundy

Have not played:
1. Puerto Rico
 
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Chris
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schwarzott wrote:
Cosmic
Puerto Rico (skip this, go directly to Race for the Galaxy)
Race is San Juan not Puerto Rico. I know SJ is PR in card form, but there's no "skip" between PR and Race there surely?
 
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Paddy Bourbon

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I started in much the same position as you a few years ago. My friends were a diverse group and I tried to buy games that would appeal to the majority. I am not familiar with Castles of Burgundy or Survive:Escape from Atlantis, but the rest I own and have tried with my group with varied success. Here's how I rank those games in my group:

1. Pandemic- This is the game to use for introducing co-ops. Just remember as the game owner not to override beginners' turns.

2. Puerto Rico- I was surprised how well this went over. I expected it to be a little too dry with not enough direct interaction. But people loved it.

3.Small World- While Puerto Rico lacks in direct interaction, this one has it in spades. Very popular in my group.

4. Cosmic Encounter- I'm not sure why this doesn't work for us. I love it but it doesn't hit the table much. Maybe it's the strange looking aliens.

5. Power Grid- I tried so hard to make this one work! But after three plays I gave up. People just did not get into it and I don't think they completely grasped it. Maybe I taught it wrong. Actually I'm sure I did.whistle

6. Agricola- Just doesn't have a lot of appeal in my group. I guess a game about farming isn't that exciting. Who knew?

If you are looking to have a few games just for the more strategic players, Caylus and Power Grid are excellent. But if the idea is to keep everyone happy they probably don't work as well as Lords of Waterdeep and Pandemic.
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Darrin Miedema
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[/q]OOP as in can't be ordered right now or as in gone? It recently got a new look so seem kinda weird it would be gone forever.

That's what I thought too. I actually asked the rep at CSI what he meant by "out of print", and he said that it meant they were not able to get it from the manufacturer currently. I actually emailed Rio Grande and they confirmed that they are not printing copies of the game currently. (Caylus)

Thanks for the reply!!!
 
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
schwarzott wrote:
Cosmic
Puerto Rico (skip this, go directly to Race for the Galaxy)
Race is San Juan not Puerto Rico. I know SJ is PR in card form, but there's no "skip" between PR and Race there surely?
With minor variation, they're both role selection games that focus heavily on timing and actions of other players roles. Skip San Juan too. Just get Race.
 
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Darrin Miedema
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Wow! I'm really surprised by all the incredible feedback. What a great community. Thank you guys all so much for your replies. This has been truly helpful. I see some trends, but also some polarization.

I want to clarify. If it were up to me, I'd get all strategy games. My top 3 are Power Grid, Puerto Rico, and Agricola, and then Small World after that. I picked Cosmic because it looks like it could be a fun romp of a game to change the pace from time to time. But, I do want to have variety so that we can have a little something for everyone.

Budget wise, I feel like I need to pick between Agricola or PR, and Agricola just looks so much cooler! But, after reading the rules, PR looks more compelling to play, with more interaction between players.

Here's where I'm at as far as "package" possibilities after all the feedback. Which would you rather have? (also should mention, i'm borrowing a copy of pandemic from a friend right now, so probably won't buy it this time around)

Package #1:
Agricola
Cosmic
Small World
Power Grid

Package #2:
Cosmic
Puerto Rico
Small World
Power Grid

Package #3 (this is the "screw it, I'm getting all the heavy stategy games!" package)
Agricola
Cosmic
Puerto Rico
Power Grid
 
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Moe45673
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Package 1, mainly because it doesn't have puerto rico. That game does nothing for me
 
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Rich Charters
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Here's my recommendation (in order that I would recommend them):

1) Agricola - It's a must have. Great game. Top of the top. Other worker placement games to consider are: Lords of Waterdeep (as you mentioned), Stone Age (this game is worker placement, has meaningful dice rolling, has a great feel to the game). I was tempted to list a few more games, but realized it was going to be 7 or 8 games, so I'll just stop here. Worker placement is my favorite mechanic.

2) Castles of Burgundy - Welcome to the world of Stephan Feld. Good game. Works well with two.....can get a little long with more players. You can get some nice combos going in this game (playing multiple tiles on a turn, etc....). If you like rolling dice to take certain actions check out: Alien Frontiers and Kingsburg. No hidden scoring (which is something I like) and difficult to catch someone who has built a lead.

3) Puerto Rico - Role selection is an important genre. Other games to consider are: Citadels and Race for the Galaxy. San Juan is a simplified Puerto Rico converted from a board game to a card game.

4) Cosmic Encounter - Fun game. Although this game has direct confrontation it doesn't have the mean-spirited feel of some of the other games on your list. It is referred to as a negotiation because you don't just pick someone and try to crush them....you pick someone and then convince everyone else at the table why they should help you crush them. The more interactive your group, the more fun this game will be. If you want to win through a superior strategy, this game isn't for you....but if you want to have a blast while having a back and forth battle with the other players, you'll love it.

5) Pandemic - I think a co-op is a must. Our favorite co-op so far is Flash Point: Fire Rescue. We also enjoy Forbidden Desert.

6) Power Grid - This game is 'mathy' to the extent that it might put some people off. The way the resource market works is genius. There's a catch up mechanism that slows down whoever has the lead. There's an element of area control (which I don't particularly enjoy). There is an auction element (which isn't my favorite mechanic).

7) Small World - OK game. If someone is big fan of Risk, I would recommend Small World. For me, it's just OK. I wouldn't really recommend Small World to someone who hasn't played a lot of games. Again, it can be somewhat mean spirited as the way you make progress is to beat up on other players in a direct (and sometimes personal) way. The way the fantasy races and skills are matched up is a ton of fun. But the gameplay leaves me a little flat.

8) Survive: Escape from Atlantis - last time I played this I swore I would never play it again. To us, it has a mean spirited feel to it. You try to destroy your opponents survivors. Some people seem to really like it, but it wasn't for us.

Caylus - never played.

Enjoy!
 
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Chris
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schwarzott wrote:
TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
schwarzott wrote:
Cosmic
Puerto Rico (skip this, go directly to Race for the Galaxy)
Race is San Juan not Puerto Rico. I know SJ is PR in card form, but there's no "skip" between PR and Race there surely?
With minor variation, they're both role selection games that focus heavily on timing and actions of other players roles. Skip San Juan too. Just get Race.
Oh sure, skip San Juan. No problem there.
 
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Darrin Miedema
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Thanks again for all the replies and feedback. I pulled the trigger on Package #1!!!

Excited to play these!
Agricola
Cosmic
Small World
Power Grid
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Andreas Krüger
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:

Pandemic.... the idea of a co op game IS weird to n00bs. You NEVER EVER see them in mass market games, and people here really forget how strange that is to a non gamer.

Legends of Andor and Hanabi are mass market games (in Germany at least). I think the concept of cooperative games is not that difficult to get, and the theme of Pandemic works nicely with the cooperative mechanic.
 
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Chris
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Thamos von Nostria wrote:
TheRocketSurgeon wrote:

Pandemic.... the idea of a co op game IS weird to n00bs. You NEVER EVER see them in mass market games, and people here really forget how strange that is to a non gamer.

Legends of Andor and Hanabi are mass market games (in Germany at least). I think the concept of cooperative games is not that difficult to get, and the theme of Pandemic works nicely with the cooperative mechanic.
Very much NOT mass market in the UK for sure. It's an easy enough concept in itself, sure, but it's yet another thing to get your head around.
 
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Kevin Garnica
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Without "ranking", these are the best options:

Puerto Rico
Castles of Burgundy
Cosmic Encounter
Pandemic
Small World
 
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