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Subject: Good "sandbox" style games rss

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Grant Farnsworth
United States
Idaho
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I am looking for suggestions on a good sandbox board game.
To help weed out unwanted posts, I'm NOT looking for your "webster's dictionary" definition of the term "sandbox". You can just grumble to yourself about how misguided I am in my definition of the term, rather than try to enlighten me. I am not asking for RPG's either.

By "sandbox", I am not necessarily talking about a game in which your character can roam off all four edges of your game table (although I certainly don't mind that), what I am looking for are any games which allow for many different styles of play, many different strategies to implement, many different roads to victory, with few player restrictions. Most games will narrow down what you CAN do (or what is SMART to do) to just one or two good strategies, and anything outside of that small window is not a viable method to win (if the rules even allow for other strategies at all; many don't even give you a choice at how to play), and that is not what I am looking for.

I am very much a fan of tactical miniature games (Level 7:Omega Protocol, Earth Reborn, etc.), so that style of sandbox would be optimal, although I am open to others, as well.

Here are a few good examples of what I am looking for.
Xia: Legends of a Drift System. I have studied this one, including watching a full play-through by J Play. It interests me very much, with the exception that in the videos I saw, there was very little player interaction. Each ship kind of just went off to do it's own thing without really ever bothering any of the other players. I don't know if this is the way this game generally plays, but this would be a wonderful game for me if it spurred more player-to-player conflict.

Earth Reborn (Scenario #6). This scenario lays out winning conditions as accumulating x amount of mission points. The cool thing is that you can go about getting mission points in about 4 different ways...or you could just go and demolish the enemy players, since they are all in close proximity. This is very much like what I am looking for. The one downside is that there is no map exploration at all.

I know there aren't many out there, but any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Liam
Scotland
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Perhaps Merchants & Marauders
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Chris
United Kingdom
Birmingham
England
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There certainly can be loads of interaction in Xia, but battle is a lot harder to succeed at than isolated events in the earlier parts of the game. you can shoot a missle with a D6, but they might be able to defend with a D8, so more often than not they'll take zero damage. And you'll need to give them about 12 before they snuff it, and it's easy to remove. Now, when it's later in the game and they've all got bigger ships with special fighty powers that inflicts unblockable damage, then it can get very fighty indeed. Also, as the game gets more coverage, there are more rules tweaks that will promote more interactivity etc.
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Gary Lynch
Canada
Canning
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I also watched jplays video and it is very good at getting u started in the game but does not show all the good stuff with the larger ships etc.. In short in the games I play there is always lots of interaction especially as the game moves one and there are bigger ships, powers and bounties. Best "sandbox" out there followed by Merchants and Maruaders.
 
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Kai Scheuer
Germany
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Rheinland Pfalz
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If you are into tactical miniature games, you should look into my own creation: Whack & Slaughter.

The game system allows you to pick any fantasy miniature, create stats for it and select from 225 skills. So there are almost endless ways to configure your fighter on the battlefield.
Tactical choices have to be taken into account as well, since most scenarios are team based, so you might want to field teams of fighters that work in harmony together.

Bonus: you can play with as few as 1 miniature per player (and thus with more players). In a 2 player game, I recommend 4 miniatures per player.

Downside: No map exploration either. However, you may design the "map" you are playing on in any way you want - so there is no restriction on that, either.



Happy slaughtering and kind regards,
Kai
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Guillaume Pages
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grantfarnsworth wrote:
what I am looking for are any games which allow for many different styles of play, many different strategies to implement, many different roads to victory, with few player restrictions. Most games will narrow down what you CAN do (or what is SMART to do) to just one or two good strategies, and anything outside of that small window is not a viable method to win (if the rules even allow for other strategies at all; many don't even give you a choice at how to play), and that is not what I am looking for.


May i suggest Caverna, with miniatures. There are many paths to victory as well as many actions you can take each turn.
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fightcitymayor
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Zombicide?
 
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Matt Green
England
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This might help. Thanks for the tip for Earth Reborn.

Feel free to add anything else that seems to fit or comment away. I love these sort of games.
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Adrian Hague
United Kingdom
Bristol
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High Frontier gives you an entire 'sandbox' solar system to play in!
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Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
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For a Western game with a nice selection of options of what to do, seek out Spurs: A Tale in the Old West and start rounding up cattle. Or break in wild horses. Or hunt deer. Or go for a bounty. Or prospect for gold. Or rob the bank and have the other players go for the bounty on you.
 
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Grant Farnsworth
United States
Idaho
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Thank you all for the good input. Spurs really looks intriguing. I can tell Tom Vassel sure has a good time playing it. That is a very neat system on your game, Kai. Props to a fellow creative mind. Some of that is similar to one that I have created. Matt: I wouldn't go put Earth Reborn on a "sandbox" list; it really isn't one. The specific scenario mentioned is sandboxy, but the majority of the missions aren't.

To Gary and Chris, about how long into Xia does it take before players start interacting and fighting more? Do you know of any simple house rules to balance the fighting (I have heard the "overpowered shields" complaint from several sources)? I really, really want to like the game, but I can't dump $100+ on a game unless it is close enough to awesomeness-in-a-box that I can get it there with just a few small modifications. Down time is also something I dislike in games. How long do you have to wait to play, assuming the other players know what they are doing?

Thanks you guys.
 
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Chris Wood
United States
Darien
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Le Havre. It has been referred to as a "Sandbox Funland" I did not find spurs to be ultra sandboxy. I ended up trading it. Xia might be good, Merchants and marauders is definately more along the lines you are looking for. It has a huge expansion coming out too. Also, check out vladda chvatil (SP?) games like dungeoun petz and through the ages.
 
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bryce kartchner
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Centerville
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BattleCON: Devastation of Indines is a great sandbox game!
 
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Scott Sims
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Myoman wrote:
Le Havre. It has been referred to as a "Sandbox Funland" I did not find spurs to be ultra sandboxy. I ended up trading it. Xia might be good, Merchants and marauders is definately more along the lines you are looking for. It has a huge expansion coming out too. Also, check out vladda chvatil (SP?) games like dungeoun petz and through the ages.


I was just about to suggest Le Havre but decided it wasn't quite what the OP was looking for.

The sandbox reference was probably from this review...Sandbox Funland

 
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Chris Wood
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SSims wrote:

I was just about to suggest Le Havre but decided it wasn't quite what the OP was looking for.

The sandbox reference was probably from this review...Sandbox Funland



Yep!
 
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Stephanie Straw
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I feel like Runebound (Second Edition) satisfies both the freedom of movement aspect of "sandbox games" as well as multiple paths to victory. Obviously, there is one WINNING objective, but you have a lot of options in how you can build up your character, the level of battle in which you engage, whether you take allies, etc. These aspects and many more greatly impact your specific game journey. Also, you really can play this game as long (or short) as you'd like. It's technically a competitive game, but my best friend and I play it as a cooperative game quite easily, so it definitely has a lot of flexibility there, as well. Don't even get me started on the expansions!

Another one that is sandboxy in terms of multiple victory paths is... Bruges. Some people might disagree with me, as opinions on Stefan Feld games vary greatly, but it is my favorite Feld so far for the very reason that there isn't one prevailing strategy to victory. It has everything: dice, cards, sets, currency, VPs, round affects, workers, a little take that, etc. It's still relatively easy to find for purchase, too.
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