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Subject: Need help finding good games! rss

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Hem Hemux
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Hi everyone!

Probably a cliché thread. I'll try to make it more personal though.
When I started getting interested in games ten years ago, with classics like Catan, Carcassonne and all, I use to find it easy to keep myself informed, dig thoroughly, and be sure to enjoy safely the next game I would buy. Every time, bingo, no mistake, great game, great fun. My collection was growing with different genre of games, and I loved almost each one of them - if not? just enjoyed it enough to keep it.

With time, and I mean recently, like a few years ago, begun a sad drop: every time I buy a game, many times I think "meh... not impressed, the reviews I always trust were so hyped about it, and yet this game is nothing big... 50 euros/bucks for that, damn... should it keep it?" - or at worst "Oh my, my mistake there, this game is so not for me, I don't even care if it is good or bad, I really can not picture myself getting interested of willing to play that... if I don't sell that it will take dust on my shelves for sure, what a waste...".

What I mean, is that for 2 or 3 years, now, there is a very, very few number of games that went the same way than before; now, I feel like between scared and disillusioned every time I am about to buy a new game, resulting sometimes in no buy at all in the end, and over all in a huge loss of pleasure and enjoyment in this hobby of mine. This thread is in no way about the reason why this drop of interest (are the modern games of this decade less good than before? am I getting older or less interested? there would be much to debate, this is nor the place nor the time), but about helping me not losing one of my hobbies and giving me clues about what game to buy, lending me a hand and giving me tips or info when I don't feel like going forward anymore, and all. I know there is nothing like safe buys, everything is subjective and personal tastes and all, but I believe in the community (it is thanks to it and sites like BGG I made my nice little collection in the first place!) and at least discussing is still a nice thing to do.

So here is my request: please help me by suggesting games I may enjoy! There must be great games out there, recent or ten years old I don't care, but pure gems that I just did not notice yet, or didn't take the time or hadn't the chance to try!

A few precautions before, in order to help you helping me:

1) I can't allow myself to buy games that are essentially great with 3 or 4 players minimum (most of the games, I know...) because we mainly play with 2 players, my woman and I, and get to see my gaming group (friends and family) quite seldom, on holidays or so. I already own games I have yet to try for real with 4 players to see if they are as good as one says (like Dominant Species, for instance), so I don't need that - EXCEPT if they work perfectly even with 2 players, which, lets be honest, is rarely the case.

2) What kind of player am I? I think I am really open minded. As long as the game is good! (how relative I know). What can I say? My favorite games are Cosmic Encounter, Carcassonne, Arkham Horror, TI3, RftG, BSG, Descent, Agricola, Dominion, Roborally, Netrunner, Dice Town, they come to mind. I sure enjoy many others, you can find in my list. Please note that I like simple games too (like Dice Town) though I am not a casual, and I can take any difficulty - on the contrary, the more rules the better, for my woman and I, actually. We love not necessarily complicated games, but we definitely prefer complex games.

3) Conversely, what kind of games greatly, quite, or just a bit disappointed me the past few years? Core Worlds, Glory to Rome, Chaos in the Old World, Le Havre, Cyclades, Olympos, Eclipse, Mage Knight... are the ones that come to mind.

4) Finally, please don't throw games titles at me like that! I have tons of games in my wishlist, and I know the gaming world as a lambda BGG user let's say, so I don't need just titles, but real counsel and detailed opinions.

I'll stop here, and I hope many of you can provide many paths for me to explore (don't be too convincing, though, because my wallet and my woman would hold it against you) (please convince me!!!). Don't be scared of long posts: I will enjoy reading you.

Cheers!
 
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Kasper Lauest
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OK, the ONE game that comes to mind is Twilight Struggle. A deep and intense 2 player game. It's number one on BGG for a reason.

I suggested it because you don't own it and it is not on your wishlist. I obviously don't know if you have tried it, but it is a game that really rewards repeated plays.

Otherwise, seeing as you enjoy Dominion and Netrunner, buying expansions for those two games is never a bad idea.
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Thomas Lang
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Le Havre

I saw that you like Agricola. Le Havre is by the same designer, as you might know and it's a fantastic game if theme is not too important to you. The rules are quite simple but through the effects of all of the buildings that come out the game becomes more and more complex until it really fries your brain. Great, great fun imho.
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John F.
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Maybe Letters from Whitechapel. I just bought it myself because I heard it plays very well with two, but can go up to five players, and creates a very tense atmosphere. I'm very much looking forward to trying it out myself.
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C L
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I'll suggest two games I didn't see on your own or wish list...Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends and Quantum. I've never played either one so I can't give you a personal opinion, but there are some very good video reviews on both. Check out Rahdo for Tash Kalar and Shut Up and Sit Down for Quantum.
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Walt
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I'll suggest three games: Alhambra, Vikings, and Saint Petersburg (second edition).

Alhambra plays 2-6. You buy tiles to gain majorities in tile colors and to build your Alhambra (palace) and its walls, slightly like a Carcasonne castle. In my opinion, the expansions should be avoided: I haven't played them all, but I haven't played one that was worth the rules it added to the game. This game has been continuously in print for over a decade; it's a classic like Carc or Catan.

Vikings is about to reprint. If it remains the same--and I've heard nothing else--it will play 2-4 and have an expansion included. It's not about conquering and raiding; it's about settling new islands and protecting yourself from raiders. It has a unique (I think) system for buying paired vikings (meeples) and tiles, with the more powerful vikings expensive at first but reducing through the round. Like Caylus, two player can be a tight struggle.

Saint Petersburg is also about to reprint. It will include the original 2-4 player game and a new expansion for a fifth player. In it, players take turns buying cards to generate money or points; you have to transition from total money emphasis in the beginning to total point emphasis at the end.

So, why these games? They play well at two, and they can be explained quickly and easily to new players. The new players won't feel lost and won't feel totally out-classed by an experienced player.

For longer reviews, I suggest you read reviews and session reports from the game pages. They will be more comprehensive and better organized than anything I can improvise here.
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Kasper B. Hansen
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BattleCON: Devastation of Indines!

That game is Amazing! It is a console-fighting game like Street Fighter/Tekken or actually more like BlazBlue/Guilty Gears transformed into a Boardgame!

The mechanics are simple, but the gameplay is pretty deep as you have to make important decesions every turn!

It is an intense 1 vs. 1 Figthting Game and I LOVE IT!!
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Hem Hemux
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Good evening everyone, and thank you for the nice answers! A quick answer to each of you:

Kasper, you can't imagine how right you are... that game being the first one on BGG, being a 1 vs 1 game... everything was meant for me to buy it, BUT... the theme. The theme is just awful for me and my woman. So I've always been reluctant. I guess I'll have to buy with my eyes closed... can you enjoy the game even if you hate the theme apriori?

Thomas, I am so sorry, I own Le Havre and I forgot to put it in my recent disappointments... we did not understand at all how that game could be as (or more) appreciated as Agricola (that we love). I'll edit my first post, so sorry!

John, very nice recommendation, I'll put it in my wishlist. Can you get back to me on that thread after you played it? so we can have your feedback on it? I'm sure I would love it, I love this kind of hunting mechanic, as I love Fury of Dracula and Mr. Jack... BUT my woman doesn't enjoy these two games, so even if I took Whitechapel I'd have to play with a friend ^^ so definitely on my future buys.

C L, thank you, the Chvatil game I had decided to skip it, as it seemed very abstract (I usually don't like these more than that) and unusual from Chvatil (who only disappointed me greatly once, with Mage Knight). I think I would have to play to know. Quantum, no idea what that was, will look at that, thanks.

Walt, VERY interesting findings there. I took tens of minutes to know more about these. Which one do you think would play the best with only 2 players ? And don't you think Alhambra is too simple for us? (as we love complex games). I will wait for St Petersbourg in October to know more about it.

Kasper (same name, funny), guess what, I've been eyeing this game for ages! I want it like crazy! But here in Japan it is impossible to get it, impossible to find, and the very few times I could have it from overseas, it was at a price that makes NO reasonable sense at all (a hundred bucks or so). So stop adding to my frustration I want this game

Thanks to you all and to anyone who will add to this thread (should I have opened a geeklist? ^^...
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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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If you love Cosmic Encounter and RftG, then check out Innovation (2-4 players, about an hour), which is nothing like them at all! cool
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Thomas Lang
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Oh sorry, Hem, I checked your owned games and didn't find Le Havre under L so I thought you didn't own it (stupid me). If you don't like the theme of Twilight Struggle you might be interested in 1960: The Making of the President which is a little bit less complex than Twilight Struggle but still meaty enough to give your brain a good burn. But then again... who knows if you care for the presidential election of John F Kennedy...
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The Rake
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Well from looking at your Wish List you should go ahead and buy Love Letter. It's cheap, plays fine with two players and has a ton of replay value. That game is a no brainer in my opinion.

Since you liked Arkham Horror I'd suggest a game that I personally like better A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game as well as another game by that same publisher (Flying Frog) that is coming out in a couple of months called Shadows of Brimstone.

Another great game that works well with two players (plays up to four) that my family really enjoys is The Magic Labyrinth.

Good Luck!
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J M
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For a light, two player game, you may like BraveRats. For a similar game, that is bigger and expands up to six players, Libertalia. These games are all about trying to guess what card your opponent(s) will play in each round, and choosing your own card accordingly from identical starting hands. Libertalia is a bigger game, but you can leave everything but the cards and coins/loot tokens out, and play it anywhere you have a surface.

I will also recommend Yedo, a worker-placement game where you are trying to acquire the resources you need in order to complete a variety of missions for points. With two players the game plays in a more relaxed way (my wife and I enjoy this very much). With more players, you start needing to negotiate and trade with other players (as in Settlers of Catan) in order to get your resources. You may either love or hate the theme, depending on how well you feel they did it.
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Walt
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Hemu wrote:
Walt, VERY interesting findings there. I took tens of minutes to know more about these. Which one do you think would play the best with only 2 players ? And don't you think Alhambra is too simple for us? (as we love complex games). I will wait for St Petersbourg in October to know more about it.

St. Pete is the most complex of the three. The basic game, without the new yellow deck, is the original game with different art. So, you can read reviews and strategies for the original. I'm a little unsure about the yellow deck, but the base game is still very good. It plays very well at all numbers of players.

Alhambra is on the simple side, but you rate Carcassonne highly, so....

Two player Vikings is like two player Caylus--the intensity goes up a notch. (But, it's not as heavy as Caylus by far.) If history is any guide, if you don't like it, just wait and sell it. Prices for Viking got over $100.

You might look at ordering from Cool Stuff Inc (CSI). I don't think they mind shipping overseas. GatePlay might be another option; they're in California, so that might cut shipping time a bit. But whether it's practical is going to depend on Japanese customs. You might talk with other Japanese users. They might know of a Tokyo game store willing to special order for less.

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Kevin Jeffrey
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Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension

Like you I mostly play two player games, with my wife. The one game we have enjoyed immensely is Gravwell. Although it can be classified as a filler game, it is quite entertaining. The card drafting is easy to understand, but it leads to difficult decisions as to which card to play when. You are trying to guess and what your opponent will play and how it will affect your ship movement. We find that each game is extremely tight and comes down to the last few spaces. The game with four people is also fun, but some players tend to trail behind if they don't play the right cards.

Word is a new expansion is to be released increasing the player count to 6.
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monchi
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personally I think you are going at this in a way that will result in you possibly being disappointed yet again...you are going to get all kinds of suggestions and I am sure that I could look through your wishlist and find games that I would happily suggest, but we could have totally different tastes.

My suggestion to you, if you haven't already done this, is to take a look at the review forums of any game you LOVE. I learnt a long time ago that I can get sucked into a well written review or video for a game and buy it because what I read or saw excited me. The best thing anyone can do on this site is to spend time reading and watching reviews for games they already own and have strong opinions on(positive or negative) and find some reviewers that you have the most in common with. There are a lot of very prolific reviewers out there, so finding a few that you share similar tastes with means that you can normally find at least one reviewer with a review for most of the games you are interested in. The other good thing about finding these reviewers that you have same tastes with is that you can view all their reviews through their profile. What I like to do is also check out how they rate the games in their collection as anything they rate 9 plus is worth checking out, so it can be an interesting way of discovering new games.

Early on I used to aimlessly read reviews and if there were more positive ones that negative ones I would try them out. I bought a lot of bad games this way. I find it makes a huge difference when I read or watch stuff from people that I am familiar with their tastes. There are some awesome reviewers out there that have polar opposite tastes to me, but by knowing this and watching their videos I can actually tell if I will like a game they review or not. Information is totally useless with out context...

Since you like playing with your wife I would suggest checking out Rahdo. He always does his run throughs in two player.

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Justin Lester
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I should start off by stating that my tastes don't necessarily coincide with yours. I love Glory to Rome and Le Havre and I mildly dislike Carcassonne which you rate a 10.

However, since I play mainly with two as well, I'll offer up some games that I didn't see on your owned list:

Terra Mystica I've played with two, three, and four and I think it loses hardly anything with two. It's a complex but very elegant game. And, win or lose, I enjoy building my little empire of wooden buildings.

Keyflower This game is fairly unique for a worker placement game. You bid on tiles to put into your own village. However, other players can still put workers on them. They'll get the benefit, but you get to keep their worker at the end of the round. I enjoy the player interaction in this one.

Glen More This is a pretty simple fast playing game. I've heard some people compare it to Carcassone. I don't think it's that similar myself, but people who like Carcassone tend to like it.
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Kendahl Johnson
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Junkfoot wrote:
Le Havre

I saw that you like Agricola. Le Havre is by the same designer, as you might know and it's a fantastic game if theme is not too important to you. The rules are quite simple but through the effects of all of the buildings that come out the game becomes more and more complex until it really fries your brain. Great, great fun imho.


Did you read the post? He said he was disappointed with Le Havre...
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Kendahl Johnson
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Do you like games that are easy to explain and understand?

Do you like games that are about an hour but pack a lot of punch for a short play time?

Do you like worker placement games where you can't "lock up" a place to play?

Do you like games with multiple paths to victory?

Do you like games that look pleasing and have some theme?

If you said yes to these questions, then take a look at Lancaster. It gets better every time I play it. You won't be disappointed.

My other suggestion is to find a game group so you can try some new games before buying them.
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Thomas Lang
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kendahlj wrote:
Junkfoot wrote:
Le Havre

I saw that you like Agricola. Le Havre is by the same designer, as you might know and it's a fantastic game if theme is not too important to you. The rules are quite simple but through the effects of all of the buildings that come out the game becomes more and more complex until it really fries your brain. Great, great fun imho.


Did you read the post? He said he was disappointed with Le Havre...


Did you read the post in which he said that he'd edit his first post to put Le Havre in there?
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Hem Hemux
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Wow, many answers! Again, thanks to you all. A few comments, it's super late for me and my eyes close themselves:

Pasi, great tip there! Had no clue about that game, and it looks great. Especially if you mention RftG and CE. I tried to find the new edition, but no chance. I'll keep on looking!

Thomas, no problem man! My post was too long anyway. Your other suggestion would not change anything, though: politics in a game is NOT something I'm looking for... except I just bought Twilight Struggle in the end! Many recommendations, first on BGG... I tried half a game to discover the rules, very interesting. I think I like it, but I'm sure my woman doesn't, and I don't know if I'll like it for long as I feel it seems long and repetitive for a same kind of repetitive actions - wait and see.

Tim, for Love Letter, we just happen to play with normal play cards... for aToE, I've always seen that game and thought I didn't like the art design... I'll need to be sold more than that! For the Labyrinth, it looks very abstract - will see.

AceAceBaby, I thought playing Love Letter would be enough not to buy brave rats? Is Libertalia really that good with only 2? I checked for Yedo but since it started as a little production item, it is hard to find it at a reasonnable price. Looks interesting, though (although the japanese theme makes me smile ^^).

Walt, yes for Carcassonne, but let us not mix easy with simple, right? Carcassonne is easy, but not simple at all, on the contrary it is quite complex to master and pretty deep when you know it (a bit like chess, all proportions kept). I was afraid Alhambra was just simple AND easy? like, casual/family style? I must say that Caylus with only 2 is not very attractive, though!

Kevin, I had skipped on purpose that game, thinking it did not look much like fun. I will have to look again, then. Not too abstract? and really that fun with only 2?

monchi, you probably are the guy who I listen to the most: I took literally hours since last week in order to find, watch and compare reviewers, depending on my collection. I am not exaggerating, I really spent hours, maybe eight or ten. Results? No one won my attention. I really did not find a single reviewer worth it in my eyes. Rahdo for instance, which I looked for thanks to your advice, was very interesting in his own style, but too long for me, and/or not prepared enough/too hesitating (thus long). Shame for me anyway

Justin, thanks for your help. Terra is on my wishlist since long, now. I want that game badly! The reason I don't buy it yet, is that I fear two players won't make it shine. More players are too rare occasions to buy such a game for now I'm afraid. Keyflower was on my wishlist too, for a long time, and... I bought it this week end! You convinced me. We tried it tonight! My woman killed me, twice the victory points! Nice game, she loves it, I'm alright, it is fine, though very unique in our collection so good call!!! Glen More is on my wishlist since eons too. Man, you seem to read my tastes!

Kendahl, I did not know Lancaster but most players don't recommend it with 2 players, are you sure?

PS: no need to fight, guys, let's keep cool ^^

Anyway, for those interested I bought Tzolkin too, recently, because I had a no-shipping-cost opportunity... So I'll keep you informed on that too. A bit scared two players won't bring the thrill, though. Alright, cheers!
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J M
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Yedo is currently having a new production run, so should be available at more regular prices soon.
 
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Frank Gheysen
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Hi there,

+1 for Keyflower: fits all the bills, truly a fantastic game that never gets boring and scales with all counts of players, 2 also (not that simple for a game with a prominent bidding mechanism)

Nations: top CivBuilding game that doesn't drag on too long and always presents itself differently every time you play it!

Another fine game: The Manhattan Project; nice and straightforward worker placement game with some nice graphical touches and great components. A little bit of player interaction is the spice! Tasty stuff.

Have fun and... game on!

Frank
 
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