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Subject: A Game with Direct Interaction and More rss

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ZZ xna
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My group enjoys Power Grid and also 7 Wonders as a filler. However, we disliked (surprisingly) Imperial because of the long downtime before one’s next turn. This problem was particularly acute where one player controlled several countries, resulting in that player ‘occupying’ half the playing time and leaving the rest to wait around before their turns came up again. Unfortunately, Imperial has thus failed to fill our wish for a more conflict-based game in comparison to the Euro Power Grid.

In light of this background, my group is looking for a game that fits most, if not all, of the following criteria:

1. High level of player-to-player interaction. Indirect or subtle interaction is fine. For instance, I would classify the P2P interaction in Power Grid (snapping up resources, blocking the networks of others, jacking up auctions) as indirect. Destroying or impairing another player's asset would be direct interaction (preferable). The only caveat is that the more indirect the interaction, the greater its emphasis should be in the game i.e. it should have a more central role. Ideally, such interaction (read: screwage) should be encouraged, or at least it should not come at a cost to the player. In Puerto Rico, choosing the Captain to screw others over often comes at a cost because the Captain does not benefit you and not every other player will get screwed.

2. High replayability, variously derived. Power Grid’s replayability comes from the variety of maps, different starting regions and new plant cards. A game which replayability derives from the actions of the players themselves is even better, as this would save money on buying expansions!

3. Decent thematic immersion. I’m not looking for abstract games like Chess, but neither am I looking for complete thematic immersion like D&D. Preferably not fantasy or sci-fi theme, but this is not a dealbreaker.

4. Number of players: 3-6. We usually play in a group of 3-4, but it would be good to have the option of playing with 5 or 6.

5. Complexity: We enjoy being intellectually stimulated so some level of complexity is required. 7 Wonders is probably too light (hence its filler status). Power Grid and Imperial are at good levels, though a game that is more complex is fine.

6. Simplicity of rules: A game that is easy to learn/teach, but difficult to master is what we are looking for. Of course, we will endure a 15-page rulebook if the game is so amazing that it warrants it.

7. Minimal downtime between turns. We are generally not prone to AP but even so we felt that the downtime in Imperial was too much and made the game boring. This is probably due to the possibility of one player controlling more than one country.

8. Mechanisms to prevent runaway leaders

9. Mechanisms to facilitate comebacks – we don’t want a person to fall behind at the start and then have to endure 2 hours of play knowing there’s practically no way he can win, short of the other players making stupid mistakes. In this respect Power Grid shines, what with the turn order etc.

10. Minimal luck. I would say 10-20% luck is okay. Games where the victor is decided (directly or indirectly) by a dice roll or something similar just aren't fun for us. In other words, when a person wins, his win should be mostly attributable to his skill/cunning.


Tigris & Euphrates and Hansa Teutonica seem like possible options, though the latter might be too dry (?).

So, thanks for the recommendations! Would be great if you could also briefly state which criteria the recommendations satisfy and how.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by "direct interaction". It seems that the term "direct" is actually a misnomer, sorry guys!
 
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Thomas
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Cosmic Encounter perhaps?
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Chris Puram
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Many great games that fit pretty well there with the exception of the 6 player requirement. If 5 is OK, then I might make Yedo my recommendation. It's a reasonably complex euro with higher than normal thematic immersion. It's not for everyone, but the one thing that seems to turn some people off is the "take that" provided by action cards and the luck that can come from event cards, which you seem to like. However luck is really minimal as events apply to everyone and upcoming events can be known in advance by those who choose to use an action to "foreshadow" the events (look at upcoming cards)



---edited for typos
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HenningK
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That's a pretty tough one! My best recommendation would be Caylus, though it's not a perfect fit by any means:

1. Interaction:
You can't attack the others, but you can seriously throw them a wrench by making one (or more) of their workers useless for a turn if you spend some cash. You can be nice and all play along or be very brutal towards each other.

2. Replayability:
There is a little random element at the start, but it's not much. Still, I found games to be rather varied depending on what players do. Game length also varies, you can have something between 11 and 18 turns I think. Also, it plays quite differently depending on the number of players.

3. Theme:
Standard Euro fare (you collect resources to build a castle and are awarded points). May be too dry for you.

4. Number of players:
2-5. Some people dislike it with 5 (though I am not one of them).

5. Complexity:
Higher than Power Grid, but not that much higher.

6. Simplicity of rules:
This really depends on the number of worker placement games you have played. If you have never played such a game, it might be a bit much. Certainly not top marks in this category.

7. Minimal downtime:
Highly depends on how long people think about their move. In general, people take turns of placing one of their workers on the board. Everybody has the same number of workers, but may opt to pass earlier. You will not encounter one player having much more to do than the others.

8. Preventing runaway leaders:
Sorry, nope.

9. Comebacks:
Again, nope.

10. Minimal luck:
Apart from the order in which the first 6 tiles appear, there is no randomness at all. So minimal luck certainly applies.



I'd also really love love love to recommend Terra Mystica since it's my favourite game of the past 5 years. It probably fits even less, but here I go anyway, maybe it is of interest to you:

1. Interaction:
Not too much. You can grab some actions before other players do or isolate them on the map (and significantly screwing them in the process) if they are not careful, but it's probably not enough for you. What I really like is that you always have to balance your proximity to other players: You want to build close to them to get certain benefits, but you don't want to be TOO close or you may become encircled by them.

2. Replayability:
Tons, tons, tons. There are 14 different races with different abilities to play. Each round, there will be bonus points for certain things, and which boni and in which order they appear is random. So depending on the boni, you choose your race accordingly. I have played about 25 games now and feel I have only scratched the surface, as the races play VERY different.

3. Theme:
It's fantasy, but it's also a Euro. Basically, you want to expand your race on a common map. Possibly too dry for you.

4. Number of players:
2-5. 2 player is not really great, but the game shines for 3-5.

5. Complexity:
Quite a bit higher than Power Grid, and higher than Caylus, too.

6. Simplicity of rules:
I'm afraid not, no. There are lots of different rules and things to do, and what's even more overwhelming is that all the races bend the rules with their own abilities. Teaching the rules will take somewhere around 30-45 minutes.

7. Minimal downtime:
The danger of analysis paralysis is rather high with this one. Also, it can happen that one player has to pass early in a round and the others still have lots to do. So I'm afraid there can be quite a bit of downtime.

8. Preventing runaway leaders:
Not really. The other players could gang up and try to isolate the leader, but that's very costly and hardly worth it. However, the current leader may not be the guy winning, as there are lots of points awarded at the end of the game, too.

9. Comebacks:
Depends on how you define "comebacks". I have had games where I was far behind in last place after half of the game and then moved from last place to first with a few moves, eventually winning by quite a margin. But this was all part of the plan along, I was biding my time and waiting for the right bonus points before I made my move. If a player screws up and is in a bad position, there is no mechanic to help him catch up.

10. Minimal luck:
The round boni are randomly selected, but from then on, it's pure strategy and no luck at all.


So as you can see, both are not perfect fits, but maybe they will give you an idea if you want to check them out closer or not. Good luck finding the right game for your group!
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Gamien Omen
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Watch Drive-Through Review's review of Hansa Teutonica. His videos always give me a good indication of what to expect from a game. He likes HT and addresses the 'dryness' factor.



 
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Chris
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+1 to Keyflower, Can feel surprisingly nasty though when your plans get really really derailed. Last time I played I had 70 points virtually in the bag, but a placement of a single meeple from someone else and they instantly made a net gain of 50 points past me when I dropped down to a mere 30 from their action.

I'll push Village into the equation. Like Keyflower, another game that has SO much more going on that the pleasant picture on the box suggests.

1 - Not directly direct, but as it's worker placement other peoples actions constantly affect what you're going to do, especially when someone goes to market and suddenly everyone has to buy VP if they want to.

2 - Random allocation of influence cubes to the board always change tactics to some extent

3 - Save for wondering why you want your meeples to DIE DIE DIE, the theme works really well as life in ye olde village. - Birth, death, farming, market, travelling, beer.... yep.

4 - 2-5 with the Village Inn expansion. Not for 6.

5 - Looks very friendly, but lots of interesting paths to victory (which still require interaction with other players unrelated strategies)

6 - Very simple... take a cube from the board, optionally do the action for the place you took it from if you can / want to. That's.. kind of the rules really.

7 - turns can be seconds long, so never long until your next one.

8 - Yeah, job done there I think

9 - Hmm, maybe a little less so here, but if you get in first and take an action the others might want, you can preempt a stronger result for yourself. And do things like take the starting player token per round.

10 - It's luck how the tiles and cubes came out, but this is a periodic setup phase, not player specific at all. A really nice middle ground of luck I think.
 
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Nathan Clegg
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Another vote for Keyflower! It does take a bit of learning to "get it" but it is not a difficult game. As to points 8 & 9, it's easy for new players to run out of meeples, which is equivalent to running out of money at an auction *and* running out of workers in a WP game. Players just need to learn to manage it.
 
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Shane Larsen
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Kemet - It only plays yo to 5, but it's excellent.

Struggle of Empires plays up to 7 players. Recommended with 4+.

When you say "direct interaction", I think of attacking. It seems others think differently because most of the above recommendations only include indirect interaction, like Keyflower, for example. I personally wouldn't call the interaction in Keyflower "direct". I hardly think, "Take that!" when I place a couple meeples on a tile to buy some wood.
 
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ZZ xna
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Thanks guys! Keep the recommendations coming! I'm not too sure about Keyflower because it seems quite similar to Power Grid (auctioning and network building) but will definitely look into Cosmic Encounter and Caylus. Yedo in particular looks very promising.
 
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Jim Andrew
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Keyflower is worker placement with a twist, hardly feels like Power Grid

and yesterday i've just played Colosseum and it fits most of your criteria

1. player interaction : medium. mostly from the auctioning and trading tiles, and the interaction is more in the later rounds

2. replayability : medium/high. all event tiles is available in every game, but the available asset tiles will varies from game to games

3. thematic : great. it really feels like you are preparing the events

4. #players : 3-5

5. complexity : medium. higher than 7 wonders, lower than Power Grid

6. rules : easy, 5-10 minutes is enough to teach the game

7. downtime : low

8. catchup mechanism : yes

9. comeback mechanism : you only count your last round's score so you don't really know who's actually leading

10. luck : low
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Nathan Clegg
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thedacker wrote:
When you say "direct interaction", I think of attacking. It seems others think differently because most of the above recommendations only include indirect interaction, like Keyflower, for example. I personally wouldn't call the interaction in Keyflower "direct". I hardly think, "Take that!" when I place a couple meeples on a tile to buy some wood.

Getting into semantics here, both because the OP said direct interaction "as opposed to multiplayer solitaire" and because Keyflower's WP-style blocking goes way beyond the usual WP game, both into auction territory (which I think most people would agree is direct interaction) and to aggressive usage/blocking of other players' tiles (even more so than Manhattan Project). I certainly do think "Take that!" when I play a green meeple on that fantastic tile you just bought or upgraded.
 
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Marc Hawkins
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Mark Jackson
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Previous poster summer up Caylus very well, which I was going to recommend as well. The interaction in that game can be absolutely cutthroat, if thats how you want to play it. It does run a little long at 5 players, but not enough to spoil the fun.
 
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Michael Stagliano
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Mice and Dice is ALL player interaction... and while I don't think it meets ALL of your ctiteria, it does meet a lot of them.

They biggest PLUS this game has going in is: it's your turn every turn.

Check out a game review of it here ---> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbo0ULAgba8&list=UUiZUrO_OXe...
 
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Shane Larsen
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moramis wrote:
thedacker wrote:
When you say "direct interaction", I think of attacking. It seems others think differently because most of the above recommendations only include indirect interaction, like Keyflower, for example. I personally wouldn't call the interaction in Keyflower "direct". I hardly think, "Take that!" when I place a couple meeples on a tile to buy some wood.


I certainly do think "Take that!" when I play a green meeple on that fantastic tile you just bought or upgraded.


Yeah, this must be an occasion of different strokes, I suppose. Very different.
 
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thedacker wrote:
moramis wrote:
thedacker wrote:
When you say "direct interaction", I think of attacking. It seems others think differently because most of the above recommendations only include indirect interaction, like Keyflower, for example. I personally wouldn't call the interaction in Keyflower "direct". I hardly think, "Take that!" when I place a couple meeples on a tile to buy some wood.


I certainly do think "Take that!" when I play a green meeple on that fantastic tile you just bought or upgraded.


Yeah, this must be an occasion of different strokes, I suppose. Very different.


It certainly could be "Take that!" if you are playing to deprive your opponent AND it isn't you best move.
 
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Clinton Sattler
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Here is a bit of an outside of the box suggestion that hits some of your criteria (but admittedly misses others)

Lifeboats

Plays well with 6, and it sounds like you have the right type of group for it. The gameplay may not be as deep as you are looking for, but you will have some memorable sessions.

Trust me, Runaway leaders will not be an issue.
 
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Kevin Garnica
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Two games that sprang to mind:

Tammany Hall
Lifeboats

Hansa Teutonica is not too dry; you get over it pretty quickly. It's awesome, give it a shot.
 
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Amanda Milne
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Manifest ticks all those boxes:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/278847765/manifest-the-...

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J. M. Lopez-Cepero "CP"
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Add another vote for Keyflower. I would also advise you to look into Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia - fits 3-7 and 10 perfectly, and I'd say 1 and 2 pretty well (the interaction is sometimes subtle, but it's there, and markets both increase replayability and provide some screwage). With 8 and 9 I'm a bit more torn - they are not a problem, but they are not highlights of the game also. It's not that easy for runaway leaders to happen, although players need to be aware of ways to stop others from becoming juggernauts, and comebacks are possible, but more through clever play than because of mechanical elements. It's sometimes possible to see that a player is 2-3 turns away from winning and that there's virtually no chance of stopping him or her, but by then the game is almost over anyway.

I also enjoy Lords of Waterdeep with the Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport expansion a lot and I'm surprised that it has not been mentioned. The expansion introduces more chances to play Intrigue card and extra ways to mess with your opponents' plans, rules are simple, turns are short and the hidden information elements help keep people on their toes. I would play with both expansions of Scoundrels mixed in, and select the Intrigue cards from the base game which have more of a "take that" element - things like stealing people, mandatory quests and so on. (Scoundrels includes two separate modules, Undermountain and Skullport; when you play with both, you include only half the cards from the base game. Instead of picking them at random you can choose those which have a strong interactive element).

Edit - another one I just thought about that ticks nearly every box is Small World, with a caveat - to play up to 6 you'll need Small World: Realms or Small World: 6 Player Board, as well as some of the extra race expansions (they're cheap, and highly recommended).
 
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ZZ xna
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I’ve reworked my definition of P2P interaction so hopefully that brings more clarity.

Lifeboats

Seems like a fun negotiation game, but a little light. Will definitely consider this when I am in need of a filler-ish game. For now, I am looking for something with lots of meat.

Terra Mystica

It’s hard to discount this because it’s in the top ten if I’m not wrong. To those that recommended TM, would you still stick to this in light of my revised definition of interaction?

It definitely is meaty enough, but the complexity of its rules/set-up and the long playing time are a little off-putting.

Euphoria: Build a better dystopia

Love the post-apocalyptic setting, but I’m still uncertain as to whether there’s sufficient P2P interaction. Would like to hear more on how it fits the revised Criteria 1.

Manifest

Lots of potential, but unfortunately it’s still not available (?). I will definitely give this more thought once I can obtain it in my country.

Lords of Waterdeep

Sounds very similar to Yedo – some have commented that Yedo is a ‘souped up’ version of LoW. If this is true, any thoughts on which I should get and why? I like the idea of jostling for items to complete quests, which both seem to have, so both are prima facie appealing to me.

Caylus

Please rate the centrality of P2P interaction in this game. It seems to be indirect and peripheral (optional?) to the core game, though it certainly seems to be excellent at what it does.

Again, thanks alot guys I now have quite a few games to do further research on.
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J. M. Lopez-Cepero "CP"
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zzxna wrote:
Euphoria: Build a better dystopia

Love the post-apocalyptic setting, but I’m still uncertain as to whether there’s sufficient P2P interaction. Would like to hear more on how it fits the revised Criteria 1.


I honestly don't know. On the one hand the interaction is definitely indirect - you can't actively destroy other players' stuff or such. However, what is there is a central part of the game, specially with high player counts. Markets actively reward builders and punish those who are left out, which will be at least 2 players in a 6p games. High player counts also feature more bumping. And, if an allegiance track is advancing too fast, other players can "park" a die in the corresponding resource space, which seriously impairs its growth. So while I think that it might be a bit in the light side for you, there's a decent chance that it will work for you, specially at 4 to 6 players. I would suggest researching a few reviews to see how the game 'ticks' to make up an opinion for yourself, or, perhaps even better, asking for direct opinions in the Euphoria forums (the crowd will be biased, but they'll probably come up with better examples).

Quote:

Lords of Waterdeep

Sounds very similar to Yedo – some have commented that Yedo is a ‘souped up’ version of LoW. If this is true, any thoughts on which I should get and why? I like the idea of jostling for items to complete quests, which both seem to have, so both are prima facie appealing to me.


I don't have direct experience with Yedo, but I would suggest you to watch Rahdo's runthroughs for both games to get a better idea of how they work. I can say that Scoundrels significantly improves what was already an awesome game.

Cheers
 
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Yedo and Lords of Waterdeep share the core mechanics of worker placement and fulfillment of objectives (missions/quests) However they feel very different. Lords of Waterdeep is considered a great gateway game and Yedo is definitely more of a "Gamer's game".

Lords of Waterdeep is a relatively simple game in which you are generally peacefully collecting cubes to complete quest cards. There are a couple of "mandatory quest" cards which would provide a little bit of "take that", but other than that there is not a lot of player interaction other than the usual worker placement mechanic of taking spaces.

Yedo is much tighter in terms of resources and points, so it always feels like you're working really hard to scratch a little further ahead and the tension is much higher.

It's also more thematic to me. When you complete a mission it feels like an accomplishment instead of simple set collection exercise. Instead of simply collecting cubes which are all gathered in much the same way, you may need a number of different types of resources which are all dealt with differently. For example you may need a specific weapon, a certain building, AND your workers need to be in certain areas of the town to complete their missions. And all of the items you need and the areas of town you need to be in are thematically tied to the mission descriptions.

Yedo is also heavier, there is just a lot more going on, so more rules to deal with and more decisions to make. It's also a pretty long game. Figure 2.5 to 3 hours or even slightly longer in your first game with 5.

I think everyone I know thinks LoW is pretty good game but Yedo is more of a Love/Hate type of game where some people (like myself) love it and others hate it.
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Mark Jackson
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zzxna wrote:

Caylus

Please rate the centrality of P2P interaction in this game. It seems to be indirect and peripheral (optional?) to the core game, though it certainly seems to be excellent at what it does.


it is one of the defining mechanics of the game and something that you have to think about every turn (among many other things). true it isn't the entire point of the game or something that will even necessarily come into play every turn (or every game for that matter), but you had better be aware of who is controlling the provost at the end of every turn and how far you're pushing into dangerous territory with your worker placements or else you will quickly end up with your plans crumbling around you and nothing to show for your entire turn's spent resources. and this is a game where it really feels like every placed worker is vitally important, so getting shut down can be brutal.

...

man i need to play Caylus again soon.
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