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Subject: Highly immersive/thematic board games for 3 to 4 players rss

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Germany
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Hi,

can you please suggest some games based on following criteria:

- thematic/immersive with telling a story each game (meaning no abstract games)
- focus should be on experiencing the game/having fun instead of stuff like maximizing points at the end of turns
- can be played out of the box each time (e.g. no games with campaigns)
- preferred player count: 3 and/or 4 players
- rules should be easy to grasp and explain, no constantly checking rulebook during gaming

Many thanks in advance
 
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Chris Ley
United States
Reston
Virginia
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Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island fits all your requirements except the last one about the rules. If you watch a play through video you'll understand 99% of the game.

It definitely is one of the most thematic games I've ever played, and though the rules can be better, we just ruled whatever seems the most thematic and go with it.
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Jason Long
United States
Auburn
California
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Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game! My group absolutely loves it. The crossroads cards add excellent occasional plot twists, while the secret objectives and possible betrayer make the game head and shoulders above other similar semi-cooperative fare. A truly immersive gaming experience.

Not quite as good but still fun: Betrayal at House on the Hill. The first half is exploration of a haunted house. And then the betrayer is triggered and the storytelling ensues. Depending on the scenario that triggers, the second half can be highly immersive and a riot of fun, or a bit on the flat and disappointing side.

I would recommend my favorite thematic game, Mage Knight Board Game, but with 3-4 players, it makes for an extremely long game. It's really great with 2, and certainly works with more players, but it's such a long and epic game already, that each player adds about an hour (or more) per game. Such a deeply thematic and immersive experience, though, it's worth having in any collection. (You will definitely have to check rules throughout on this one.)

And a big +1 for Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island.
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Carel Teijgeler
Netherlands
Vlaardingen
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I would have suggested Source of the Nile.

But it is OOP for many years and the last criteria is not really applicable with this game.
 
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Ryan Bohm
United States
California
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+1 for Dead of Winter. There is absolutely no min/maxing in this game, rules are pretty straight forward. You might have to check the rule book here or there, but this game is not hard to play. Best of all, this game does play out like a story. Crossroad cards add to the story element, and while some cards get repetitive, we've had some hilarious moments as well as some excruciatingly difficult decisions to make. Furthermore, it draws out the personality of the players, which I think always makes for an interesting game!

 
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Claudio Hornblower
Italy
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Chaos in the Old World
Merchants & Marauders
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Barry Kendall
United States
Lebanon
Pennsylvania
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If you like the Fantasy genre, "Runewars." Playing a game with 2 or 3 others unfolds as though you're reading an epic fantasy saga for the first time.

The rules may seem daunting at first, but read a review, watch a video or two, and play a game while learning. The investment will be rewarded many times over as early as the second game, and certainly by the time you're ready for the third, not only will the mechanics be second nature, you will have begun to appreciate the different strategic approaches available for consideration and use.

Each Player comes to feel like the Emperor or Governing Council of a race. This is a game I'll gladly play at every opportunity.

"Merchants and Marauders" is another good one, if you like the Age of Sail trade/piracy era.

Don't overlook "Quartermaster General." It's a brilliant design, and you will come to identify with the leaders of the Powers, each with their unique national advantages and disadvantages--in an evening.

For something entirely different, take a look at "Flash Point: Fire Rescue." While it abstracts many aspects of interior firefighting, ignores air and physical endurance, and emphasizes search and rescue over fire suppression, it is quite immersive for all players.

All of these are also highly replayable.
 
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Harv Veerman
Netherlands
Zoetermeer
Zuid-Holland
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Legends of Andor, but read the comments to decide if this is a game for you first...
 
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Mark Bruno
United States
Chicago
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I recommend A Touch of Evil.

It can be played right out of the box with no expansions and is easy to learn. The rules support competitive and cooperative play and it's absolutely dripping with theme.

It's just one of those games that will totally immerse you, whisking you away into the fog-shrouded, full-moonlit woods and the cobweb-laced, musty-smelling dark corners of an 18th century landscape as you solve mysteries and fight vampires, werewolves, spectral horsemen, evil scarecrows and more.
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maf man
United States
Portage
Wisconsin
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Gloom
I like suggesting this because you can take the game or story part as seriously as you and your friends would like. The hope of the game is that you make up short stories explaining what your cards your playing is doing. So thematic level is more or less up to you. Also a well rounded easy to learn fun game. Lighter than the others suggested, if thats what your looking for.
 
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Under the paving stones, the beach
United Kingdom
Huddersfield
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Succession: Intrigue in the Royal Court is very good, if you like some dealmaking and a bit of "take that" play. Reasonably priced in the marketplace as well (it's OOP).

Tales of the Arabian Nights is the "experience" side of gaming to almost the exclusion of anything else. It divides people on here, you'll either love it or hate it.

Firefly: The Game is very immersive, but probably at the limit of your rules complexity tolerance. (Honestly though, it's reasonably straightforward once you're used to it. Nowhere near as difficult as some on here would claim). It's also very solid with four players.

If you're looking at Robinson Crusoe, note that it's a co-op.
 
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Remus Rhymus
United States
Pennsylvania
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Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem
Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery
 
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Nicole Bird
United States
Palmdale
California
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+1 Robinson Crusoe

Great game, the rule book is a disaster, but I watched Rhado's play through video which helped immensely.
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Katina Choovanski
United States
Branchburg
New Jersey
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Another +1 for Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. That one is worth dealing with the awkward rulebook for. Lots of people mention watching videos, which is good. I strongly recommend Ricky Royal's playthrough. He does a very good job of teaching and is meticulous with the rules... and even communicates directly with the designer to get clarifications when needed.

Once one person really has the rules down, they can help run the show, since it is a cooperative game. At this point, I have the rules down pat and never have to look at the book again. I can teach it fairly quickly to newbies.

~Kat ^_^
 
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