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Subject: Other Sierra Madre Games? rss

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Jonathan Star
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I played Pax Porfiriana and loved it - I'm 99% sure I want to pull the trigger and get the collector's edition.

But there are all these other titles I'm only hearing of now - how do they differ? Should I just stick to Porfiriana or might I find something else I prefer?
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Tim Falkenberg
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Pax Porfiriana is a very well designed card game. I assume Pax Pamir will be fairly similar.

Other interesting card games that differ in mechanics are Greenland and the upcoming Neanderthal. These are designed for three players, but share the banks of cards in the middle with the Pax games.

I actually prefer some of the boardgames to these. I love Origin and Bios MegaFauna and am intrigued and intimidated by High Frontier (I bought it but have only played it solo).

I can't speak to any of the other Sierra Madre Games, but I always find Mr. Eklund's work attractive. Many of his games sway to the simulation rather than the balanced game-play side, but I don't regret any of the money I've spent on them.
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Robert Forrest
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Pax Pamir is inspired by Porfiriana, but is a different game.

Greenland and Neanderthanl are both based on another system, and don't feel like Pax at all.

Pamir and Neanderthal are both in preorder, so I can't speak specifically for them, but Pax Porfiriana is my favourite game. It will play differently every time you play it. I recommend it... But if you're like me, you'll want to get it all.
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Karan R
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Pax Pamir deals with central asia/british colonial preiod with a few extra actions compared to Pax Po
Greenland/Neanderthal are soloable, shorter games dealing with growth of prehistoric tribes...like pax, it has only cards and dice
High frontier will have you building a rocket and mining the solar system, people say 3rd ed rulebook is comprehensible
Bios series covers the period when the earth was new and we were primordial soup and let's us evolve to land dwellers
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Dom Rougier
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It depends what you like about Pax Porfiriana.

If you're into Pax because it's a tight tableau-building card engine game, then Greenland, Neanderthal and Pax Pamir are for you.

Phil's games tend to be simulationist. That is, the model itself has higher priority than the game, and therefore it's possible for the game to be unfair or unbalanced. In BIOS: Megafauna, it's possible to lose the game through no fault of your own (unlikely, but it does happen).

On the other hand, simulationist games (as with any decent wargame) can provide insight into the subject matter being simulated, and can inspire further reading - if Pax Porfiriana makes you interested in Mexican history, then High Frontier, BIOS: Megafauna and Origins: How We Became Human are some of the best examples of this kind of thing in gaming of any sort.
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Brett Burleigh II
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Bios Megafauna is among my favorite games. it is not only fun, but thought provoking, challenging and simulates the chaos of the prehistoric Earth very well. It is highly probable that you will lose games based on the tile draw... hothouse earth, snowball earth, too many catastrophes earth... ive had idyllic settings without catastrophes for the entire game - but don't expect it or hope for it!

Very different from Pax Porf.

Greenland is great, but as a playtester for Neanderthal, I find the "little brother" is the better design. Quite a bit more involved and complex, it builds off of the mechanics of Greenland, while bringing in a bunch of new elements which really capture the struggle to exist. In the early game, you're nowhere near the technology level of Greenland, and surviving is tough... once you get some of your Tableau built up, it gets much more manageable, but it still isn't easy.

While both Greenland and Neanderthal are indeed soloable... don't. The first game or two, to learn the factions and rules? Surely! But much of the tension and fun comes from the hunt phases. Negotiating the cubes and tribes yourself isn't very fun... and you'll know when a betrayal is coming! Definitely better with more than one. Greenland has the Frozen Valhalla solo brutal variant that I absolutely recommend.

High Frontier is stupendous. Complex, involved, deep, simulation-driven... brain-burning, thought-provoking, difficult. I am enamored with this design. It is worth the investment of time and energy to learn this beast. The first time I played, I remember pacing the room for like 45 minutes thinking about the game, what I could have done differently, where I (or my opponent) made mistakes, what I could try or do next game. It's amazing that I spent like a dozen turns travelling to Pluto... ~4 billion miles from home sweet home... only to realize I didn't have enough acceleration to land on that damn rock!
In space, no one could hear the crew scream, as I sent them out the airlock, scuttling the mission (PRC don't care about human rights).

SMG is my "blind buy" publisher.
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Cole Wehrle
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brrrmanza wrote:

Greenland is great, but as a playtester for Neanderthal, I find the "little brother" is the better design. Quite a bit more involved and complex, it builds off of the mechanics of Greenland, while bringing in a bunch of new elements which really capture the struggle to exist. In the early game, you're nowhere near the technology level of Greenland, and surviving is tough... once you get some of your Tableau built up, it gets much more manageable, but it still isn't easy.

While both Greenland and Neanderthal are indeed soloable... don't. The first game or two, to learn the factions and rules? Surely! But much of the tension and fun comes from the hunt phases. Negotiating the cubes and tribes yourself isn't very fun... and you'll know when a betrayal is coming! Definitely better with more than one. Greenland has the Frozen Valhalla solo brutal variant that I absolutely recommend.


+1

Edit:

To this I'll add that no two SMG games are alike. I think it's possible that Greenland and Neanderthal share more similarities than any other two--including Pamir/Porfiriana. In the last 4 months of Pamir development, the game drifted even further away from Porfiriana. For good or for ill, it's very much its own game.
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Christopher
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Cole Wehrle wrote:
brrrmanza wrote:

Greenland is great, but as a playtester for Neanderthal, I find the "little brother" is the better design. Quite a bit more involved and complex, it builds off of the mechanics of Greenland, while bringing in a bunch of new elements which really capture the struggle to exist. In the early game, you're nowhere near the technology level of Greenland, and surviving is tough... once you get some of your Tableau built up, it gets much more manageable, but it still isn't easy.

While both Greenland and Neanderthal are indeed soloable... don't. The first game or two, to learn the factions and rules? Surely! But much of the tension and fun comes from the hunt phases. Negotiating the cubes and tribes yourself isn't very fun... and you'll know when a betrayal is coming! Definitely better with more than one. Greenland has the Frozen Valhalla solo brutal variant that I absolutely recommend.


+1

Edit:

To this I'll add that no two SMG games are alike. I think it's possible that Greenland and Neanderthal share more similarities than any other two--including Pamir/Porfiriana. In the last 4 months of Pamir development, the game drifted even further away from Porfiriana. For good or for ill, it's very much its own game.


+1

To this I'll add that as a playtester for Pax Pamir, I believe it's an incredible game. I had a chance to play the to-be-released version recently and it's one of the best Eklund games I have ever played. In keeping with tradition, Pamir is well researched and tells a powerful narrative. Although the learning curve is steep, the rules are polished and are very helpful to learning the game (unlike some other Eklund titles). This game comes highly recommended.
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Joshua Lobkowicz
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falafel007 wrote:
Cole Wehrle wrote:
brrrmanza wrote:

Greenland is great, but as a playtester for Neanderthal, I find the "little brother" is the better design. Quite a bit more involved and complex, it builds off of the mechanics of Greenland, while bringing in a bunch of new elements which really capture the struggle to exist. In the early game, you're nowhere near the technology level of Greenland, and surviving is tough... once you get some of your Tableau built up, it gets much more manageable, but it still isn't easy.

While both Greenland and Neanderthal are indeed soloable... don't. The first game or two, to learn the factions and rules? Surely! But much of the tension and fun comes from the hunt phases. Negotiating the cubes and tribes yourself isn't very fun... and you'll know when a betrayal is coming! Definitely better with more than one. Greenland has the Frozen Valhalla solo brutal variant that I absolutely recommend.


+1

Edit:

To this I'll add that no two SMG games are alike. I think it's possible that Greenland and Neanderthal share more similarities than any other two--including Pamir/Porfiriana. In the last 4 months of Pamir development, the game drifted even further away from Porfiriana. For good or for ill, it's very much its own game.


+1

To this I'll add that as a playtester for Pax Pamir, I believe it's an incredible game. I had a chance to play the to-be-released version recently and it's one of the best Eklund games I have ever played. In keeping with tradition, Pamir is well researched and tells a powerful narrative. Although the learning curve is steep, the rules are polished and are very helpful to learning the game (unlike some other Eklund titles). This game comes highly recommended.


The last statement is great to hear!
I love Pax Porfiriana, but had to learn it from a video.

I have Greenland but haven't figured it out yet, and haven't found a comparable video.

Let's keep this a secret though - if I learn Pax Pamir from the rules and teach it right I'll be a local hero! cool
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Cole Wehrle
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Karmic_devil wrote:


...if I learn Pax Pamir from the rules and teach it right I'll be a local hero! cool


Phil is really good about paying attention to criticism and I think ALL of the new games have vastly improved rulesets. The new Pax Porfiriana rules are a marvel of clarity and I found Neanderthal very straightforward. The Pamir rules are also pretty clear--though it can be a hard game to teach since, like most of the SMG games, there's a lot folks need to hold in their head. I wrote up a teaching script awhile back, I may post that.
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Y P
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Cole Wehrle wrote:
Karmic_devil wrote:


...if I learn Pax Pamir from the rules and teach it right I'll be a local hero! cool


Phil is really good about paying attention to criticism and I think ALL of the new games have vastly improved rulesets. The new Pax Porfiriana rules are a marvel of clarity and I found Neanderthal very straightforward. The Pamir rules are also pretty clear--though it can be a hard game to teach since, like most of the SMG games, there's a lot folks need to hold in their head. I wrote up a teaching script awhile back, I may post that.

That would be fantastic. Please do!
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Cole Wehrle
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MentatYP wrote:
Cole Wehrle wrote:
Karmic_devil wrote:


...if I learn Pax Pamir from the rules and teach it right I'll be a local hero! cool


Phil is really good about paying attention to criticism and I think ALL of the new games have vastly improved rulesets. The new Pax Porfiriana rules are a marvel of clarity and I found Neanderthal very straightforward. The Pamir rules are also pretty clear--though it can be a hard game to teach since, like most of the SMG games, there's a lot folks need to hold in their head. I wrote up a teaching script awhile back, I may post that.

That would be fantastic. Please do!


No problem.

Pax Pamir Teaching Script
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Joshua Schutte
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Domfluff wrote:
It depends what you like about Pax Porfiriana.

If you're into Pax because it's a tight tableau-building card engine game, then Greenland, Neanderthal and Pax Pamir are for you.

Phil's games tend to be simulationist. That is, the model itself has higher priority than the game, and therefore it's possible for the game to be unfair or unbalanced. In BIOS: Megafauna, it's possible to lose the game through no fault of your own (unlikely, but it does happen).

On the other hand, simulationist games (as with any decent wargame) can provide insight into the subject matter being simulated, and can inspire further reading - if Pax Porfiriana makes you interested in Mexican history, then High Frontier, BIOS: Megafauna and Origins: How We Became Human are some of the best examples of this kind of thing in gaming of any sort.


Very well spoken. This x10 Just realize Greenland is d6 dice based so has more luck and less cards only like 50 in the entire game.
 
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Jonathan Star
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Thanks everyone

Bought Porfiriana, Neanderthal and I'm thinking of getting Pamir!
 
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