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Subject: Simple, cheap game for four adults? Narrowed it down... but need help deciding! rss

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Matt F
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Over Christmas break, my wife and I, and my in-laws, will have some down time during the toddler's naps, and I'd like to play some games.

They're really not the types who want to learn a bunch of rules, sit through lengthy game setup, or play for too long.

SO, I need some easy-to-learn, quick-to-play, inexpensive games that will still keep me interested - e.g., they need to make us think at least a little!

I already have Ticket To Ride (which is good, but maybe a tad bit long...), Carcassonne (which might work), and San Juan (which is a bit too complicated and too long, probably.)

I've sort of narrowed it down to the following. I may pick 2...

For Sale (probably the front-runner)
No Thanks (second in contention)
Love Letter (would only get this along with another)
Bohnanza (worried rules are slightly too complicated?)

But I just can't decide! I keep putting each in my cart and then swapping in other ones!

Any thoughts? Other suggestions appreciated as well...



 
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Jerbear
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For Sale is probably the best for your description.

No Thanks has fallen flat for me in a couple different situations, but it does fit all of your qualifications.

Love Letter for sure. Every group I have played this with has loved it. I picked up a bunch of cheap copies a few years ago and broke it out on Xmas eve and everyone wanted to play again and again (seriously multiple games at once for a couple hours.)

Bohnanza - I have been playing with my niece and nephew since they were 7. The rules aren't that complicated. You can walk them through their turns if you want. The hardest thing for non-gamers is keeping their hands in order. This would be the longest of the games you have here, but also probably the most game in a small box you can hope for.
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Steffen Eichenberg
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Maybe Diamonds ? It is easy to teach, fast to play and most non gamers know at least trick taking games.

I would not go with Bohnanza. It is too complicated to teach for a filler (and that seems to be what you are looking for). Maybe as the second game, if everything is going well and you think you can take a step up in complexity.
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Matt F
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scameronde wrote:
Maybe Diamonds ? It is easy to teach, fast to play and most non gamers know at least trick taking games.

I would not go with Bohnanza. It is too complicated to teach for a filler (and that seems to be what you are looking for). Maybe as the second game, if everything is going well and you think you can take a step up in complexity.
That is a good suggestion I'm sure, but I personally don't really like trick-taking games all that much... I'll check it out, though.
 
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I would also suggest the following:

Red7
Pairs

Both are quick card games that are close enough to "traditional" card games, making them easy to teach and learn. Bonus with the Pairs deck is that there are multiple games that can be played with it. These two, along with Love Letter, are my favourite card game fillers.
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Mark Geusebroek
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Counter-suggestion: Get Traders and Builders for Carcassonne. It adds just enough to make it a little bit more interesting for everyone.

I introduced my in-laws to Carc 2 or more years ago. They enjoyed it enough that they bought it and T&B. But that's not the end of the story by far. They have played that game, nearly every night, for the last few years. I'm sure they're well over 500 plays.

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Beau Bocephus Blasterfire
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None of the games you suggested have much staying power. If you can get 6 or more players to play, I highly recommend Coup: Deluxe Edition. I believe you can get it separately as base game and expansion as well. While this game won't have a ton of staying power, I believe it should be better received to repeated plays. You could also go for Lost Legacy as it is much like Love Letter, but a bit more involved. If you get several different sets, you can even mix them as well.

Sushi Go! is popular with my family.
 
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Mark Blasco

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No Thanks and Love letter are both great (I haven't played For Sale, so can't comment on that).

Diamonds is a lot of fun. It adds a "gamer" element to trick taking, so your strategy is not just determined by trying to take tricks. Definitely worth looking at again.

The only game that gets played more than Love Letter and No Thanks in my group is King of Tokyo, but that definitely takes things up another notch, and may not be what you're looking for at all. Splendor is also a wonderful game for people who aren't gamers. Both are longer than the games you mentioned, but not as long as Ticket to Ride.
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Jason Daly
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I'd also consider Splendor. No harder to learn than Ticket to Ride, but plays quite a bit quicker. It also has really nice components. I love Bohnanza, but with all the trading and negotiating it can run a bit longer than you might like.
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Kathleen Nugent
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Is Take it Easy! still being sold? If it is, it's good because it's very social, doesn't have the Euro detailed rules, feels a tad like bingo. It works perfectly with casual gamers. Rules explanation is about one minute long or less.
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Todd Gabriel
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For Sale & No Thanks! are likely your best bet. I have both and in similar situations I always start off with No Thanks.
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Matt F
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

I'll add another criteria (which Coup brought to mind): the more "bright" and "fun" the theme, the better.

I know, Coup isn't that out there, but still, I can definitely see them preferring cutesy meeples, trains, beans and real estate over dystopian government overthrows.

Even though, on such simple games, the theme really doesn't effect gameplay that much, I still think it could effect their interest in the games.

Thanks again!

 
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Mystery McMysteryface
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How about Coloretto?
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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If your in-laws have played a lot of cardgames, Bohnanza may be a bit frustrating because you're not allowed to rearrange your hand.

I agree with the following:
No Thanks
Coloretto

I also suggest:
TransAmerica
Forbidden Island
The Game
 
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Megan

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I am very excited to introduce Codenames to my family. Very easy to learn. Very quick to play. Very tense.
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J.L. Waz
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Love letter is great for in laws

I would add roll for it easy light game, splendor, or Machi Koro light quick and short on the rule book. Splendor is probably the most expensive at 30+ bucks
 
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Brian Franzman
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You should certainly choose your favorite flavor of Love Letter, it's too good and too inexpensive not to buy. Bohnanza is perfectly easy after you play one sample hand and constantly remind people NOT TO REARRANGE THE CARDS IN THEIR HAND. The second game should go a lot faster.

Also consider Citadels, one of my favorite bang-for-your-buck small box games.
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Jeff M
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Biblios.
Very simple rules yet lots of depth.
Great production.
Inexpensive.

https://boardgamegeek.com/video/56234/biblios/game-boy-geek-...
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Jin Juku
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Battle Sheep is a great, simple abstract that works well with 4 players. And as a bonus, it scales perfectly to 2, 3, or 4. Games go by quickly, so you should be able to get a few in during naps, but it's fun enough to warrant multiple plays.

I'll also second Splendor, and agree that Diamonds is worth another look, even if you don't like traditional trick taking games.
 
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Aaron Edwards
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For Sale and No Thanks are my votes out of those choices.
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Greg Bigler
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I would also pitch for Splendor. Everyone I've played with likes this game and it is very easy to learn. It is also fairly inexpensive.

No Thanks is a quick, easy game, but I think it would get boring after a few plays. Love Letter (I like the Batman version) is also very good and would likely be enjoyed for more plays.

I've had For Sale on my gift list for a while, but have never played.

Carcassonne is also an easy game to learn. I think if you're going to get an expansion, you might as well buy the Big Box 5. You get more bang for the buck this way.
 
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E. Strathmeyer
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For Sale, for sure! It's easy to teach, plays great with 3-6, and has enough legs to keep you coming back.

No Thanks is fun for 3-5, but (even though For Sale is also just a game about numbers) it feels a bit drier.

Love Letter is fabulous for 2-4 (well, really 3-4) and is probably the quickest game to teach, but you'll wear out the strategy sooner than For Sale. People can win or lose Love Letter by pure chance.

Bohnanza is a personal favorite. Hilarious fun for 3-7 (don't play with 2!), but you will have trouble teaching it. Not being able to rearrange your hand is such an alien concept in a card game, that you'll definitely have a few people that accidentally do it during your first few plays. The turn structure can also be tricky, so when I teach it I use a "1-2-3" mnemonic. Plant 1 card from your hand (I always say "You can plant a second card, but usually you don't want to" – which is a bit of a lie, but helps new players). Turn 2 cards up to start trading. Finish trading by drawing 3 cards into the back of your hand. Once I get people playing "The Bean Game", they love it, but getting there is tough. I also have to say that as much as I love the game, I never know who's going to win until the scores are tallied. So to me, it's lots of fun, but random fun.
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Don Alexander
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Skull & Roses. Awesome game.

Dwarf King


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Kevin Mooney
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Games that work at our house in similar situation re: time and type of players involved are

Black Spy, Tsuro, Guillotine, Takenoko, Sushi Go.

I'd love for them to try Cave Troll, but they glaze over at the box
 
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Craig Somerton
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+1 for For Sale, No Thanks and Love Letter

Coup is also a small, light and cheap bluffing game that works well with 3-6 players.

Good Cop Bad Cop also fits the bill as a cheap, light, small, fun deduction game.
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