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Subject: Recommend Me a New Medium - Heavy Euro rss

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Lawrence
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My girlfriend and I have recently been making our foray into slightly heavier euro's.

We realize that there are lots of options for euro's in this weight category with good gameplay, but we're looking for a bit more than that. For me especially, theme is key. While I can play The Castles of Burgundy once or twice, the pasted on theme simply grates at me. We're also very picky about game aesthetics (see Castles of Burgundy).

Here are some games we've liked and played so far with our thoughts:

- The Gallerist - One of our favorite and most often played games. The thematic integration is amazing. While the gameplay is theoretically simple (there are only four locations), the strategy goes much deeper. The production value for this game is through the roof. Playtime clocks in just right at about 2 hours.

- Trickerion: Legends of Illusion - Another fun worker placement game with great thematic integration. It's not as strong as Gallerist due to the gamey feeling of creating links, but it is still a solid game that sits at our perfect time of ~2 hours. Art and production value are great.

- Dominant Species - A fairly tense game where every decision really feels meaningful. Adapting at the right time or timing that glaciation step to hit a giant chunk of your opponent's resources is incredibly satisfying. Gameplay is also theoretically simple and straightforward, but each placement has a large impact. This game is pure competition, but no matter how screwed you feel, it's never hopeless as there's always a way to catch up. The adapt to survive aspect really comes through. Production value on the newer boards is decent, but the use of cones and cubes still feels a bit too abstracted for me. The game is very math-y at times. This, combined with the long 4 hour gameplay make it difficult for it to hit the table very often.

- Caverna: The Cave Farmers - Decent sandbox game where the fun comes from exploring what you can do, rather than any competitive tension. This is our weakest game on this list by far. We still like it, but it just doesn't hit the table often. And before you suggest it, yes... we've played Agricola. It's already on my to-buy list, but I'm waiting for the new edition coming out this year.

----------

In summary:

We like: Strong thematic integration, good production quality, meaningful decisions, simple gameplay with deep strategy

We do not like: Pasted on theme, low production quality, wargames

---------

Right now, we're looking at:

- Alchemists
- Argent: The Consortium
- Vinhos (although I may end up waiting for the deluxe edition)
- Dungeon Petz
-- Any other recommendations are appreciated

We have eliminated:

- Kanban: Driver's Edition - This may be a bit too heavy for us. Additionally, the cluttered gameboard is an eyesore that would stop it from getting to the table.
- CO₂ - Too abstracted. Theme doesn't come through for the GF.
- Brass: Lancashire - As solid as the gameplay may be, the lack of aesthetics really hurts.
- Mage Knight Board Game - On my one play, the theme didn't really come through. Production quality is horrible and the game really felt like it just draaaaaaaged. I don't see my girlfriend enjoying this either, as she is sometimes prone to AP.
- Caylus - Too sterile.
- Troyes - Do not like the overall game aesthetics. At all.

 
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Ryan Bull
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A new game I have on pre-order that is receiving a high amount of praise at the moment, and seems to have a well intergrated theme, is Food Chain Magnate.
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Mystery McMysteryface
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Prêt-à-Porter - very hard to find, supposed to get a re-theme
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Andrew VanSpronsen
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Vinhos is brilliant. Get the Deluxe version when it comes out.

In the medium space I would highly recommend Grand Austria Hotel. It's a dice drafting game about running a hotel, satisfying customers and getting them into rooms. Funny you mentioned CoB because I have been calling GAH "CoB with theme"...it gives me the same vibe as the game play is similar. Bring customers to your hotel, meet their needs, then place them on your player boards where you get bonuses for the customer and for filling various areas. There is a bit more going on with variable long term goals and Emperor bonuses/punishments. The dice drafting here has a really meaty twist in that the power of your action is determined by the number of dice of that value ( you take a dice away when you perform the action so that the next player, even if that is you, who performs the same action performs it weaker )

If you want something a little heavier then Signorie is another dice drafting game but one with some engine building and set collection. The theme may be a little more pasted on so I mention this one second. Great mechanics and tough choices.

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Lawrence
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avanspronsen wrote:

In the medium space I would highly recommend Grand Austria Hotel. It's a dice drafting game about running a hotel, satisfying customers and getting them into rooms. Funny you mentioned CoB because I have been calling GAH "CoB with theme"...it gives me the same vibe as the game play is similar. Bring customers to your hotel, meet their needs, then place them on your player boards where you get bonuses for the customer and for filling various areas. There is a bit more going on with variable long term goals and Emperor bonuses/punishments. The dice drafting here has a really meaty twist in that the power of your action is determined by the number of dice of that value ( you take a dice away when you perform the action so that the next player, even if that is you, who performs the same action performs it weaker )


Wait. What? How have I never heard of this? I perused a few written reviews and will watch a few with the girlfriend later. I'm loving what I'm seeing so far, especially the production value. I always liked the CoB gameplay, and this really takes it up a notch.

Great recommendation! My only reservation is that people don't seem as sold on this at 4 players due to downtime. Any thoughts?

Signorie is another game that I will look into. However, GAH seems more on the mark right now.
 
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Andrew VanSpronsen
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In a 4P game the first player has some down time due to the snake turn ordering. There are seven rounds though so you are only first player a maximum of twice. I would say the down time is overstated but it is there. I think it plays best at 3P then 2P then 4P but even then it is a great game at 4P.

I am glad you liked the recommendation. Definitely report back if you do end up picking it up. It is looking like a top 5 game for me. I really, really like it and it is one of those easily accessible but deeper games that you can get to the table with almost anyone.

Rahdo and MiWi have great play through videos if you haven't already come across them.
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Michael
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Definitely:

Dungeon Petz

and,

Hawaii

I compared the theme and other stuff with CoB in my review:

Comparative Review 1: Hawaii = The Castles of Burgundy Fixed?
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Paul Imboden
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Through the Ages, either version
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Glenn Massey
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Yedo. Beautiful gameboard and components and good thematic content. Need to read the cards out loud to get the most of the theme.
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Don Brookins
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The three games that came to mind that I was going to recommend were Kanban, Vinhos, and Argent: The Consortium. Then I scrolled down and saw that you had ruled out Kanban and were considering the other two. Vinhos is a very good game (which I've played just once, so take this with a grain of salt), while Argent is a fantastic game that I doubt I will ever tire of playing. It does not really have "simple gameplay" but the theme really shines through, and there's so much variability in the setup that you never have to play the same type of game twice.
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TED DORNBOS
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Three that come to mind:

Lewis & Clark
Hand management, worker placement, and a "progress race" all in one!

Thurn & Taxis
Route building, subtle strategy yet medium weight game

RoboRally
"Programming" mechanic, race-theme with robots, with a little "picking on each other." One can make this game as long or short, and as straightforward or fiendishly difficult as you desire.


 
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John Burt
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Nobody's mentioned Fields of Arle, so I'll suggest that. We own and frequently play a lot of Uwe's heavier games and FoA is probably our favorite. Recently played Caverna, and although a lot of fun, it felt a little lighter than FoA and much less thematic (FoA drips theme).

Another one to consider is Viticulture Essential Edition, which is on our "top 5 to buy" list.
 
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Lawrence
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Captain1957 wrote:
Yedo. Beautiful gameboard and components and good thematic content. Need to read the cards out loud to get the most of the theme.


Another new one for me! I absolutely love the theme and the art is beautiful. I like the mission based objectives and the possibility of manipulating the city watch. This looks very, very intriguing.
 
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Lawrence
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Update: Played Grand Austria Hotel last night for the first time and the girlfriend immediately requested another game. This is always a good thing.

It was somehow heavier (more mechanics and available strategies - emperor track, staff cards, occupancy bonuses, etc) and also lighter (tile placement not as critical, not quite as combo dependent) than The Castles of Burgundy. Overall, I really enjoyed it and will be taking it to the next few gaming meet ups. It's a shame this isn't more well known.

Up next will be Yedo. I've exhausted my gaming budget for the month, so that will have to wait. I do have money set aside for Vinhos Deluxe Edition when that kickstarts later. Still undecided on Argent: The Consortium due to our small table (38" x 38") and huge amount of erratas (and lack of replacement cards or stickers).

Thanks for all the great suggestions!
 
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Mister P
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There is a new edition of Brass in the works with better art. It really is an exceptional game.
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Phil Hendrickson
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Do give a look to Rococo as suggested above. Game play is essentially a thematic version of area majority, with some hand management and drafting and resource management. Art is rich and lovely. It is engaging, though not likely to lead to binge sessions of multiple games in a row. Solid and beautiful game.
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Vinhos very yummy. I've really enjoyed Concordia recently - but not sure if the theme does it for you. But *so* good mechanically.

You need to try some oldie but goodies maybe? Le Havre? Super excellent - my favorite Uwe (although his most streamlined is Glass Road). What about La Città? Brutally good and thematically rich I think.
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At the gates of loyang
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Chris
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Still Brass.

It looks great! Much aesthetics! You're really missing out.
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One of my favorite games is good old Puerto Rico.
Pros: It's medium weight, plays natural and close to theme, very deep game, low downtime, everybody is involded, pretty interactive and keeps my gaming group exited - many other games get less exciting once you have 5-10 plays, this one doesn't. It's one of the few games I'm 99.99% sure that I'll never sell it.
Cons: Production quality is better than Burgundy (thick tableaus, better artwork), but not top notch.

Of the latest games I liked The Voyages of Marco Polo the most.
Pros: Relavtivly quick playing time, very high replayability because of the truely unique characters which also get a truely assymetric game, interesting use of dice (placement, manipulation, very good component quality.
Cons: Parts of the game (getting resources, trading them to sth. better) are classic.

Yedo is a really good game, but some kind of love it or hate it.
Pros: Flavor and theme everywhere, every contract tells a litlle story, game looks awesome
Cons: Very long playing time (~3-4h), unusually high luck given the long playing time. Core mechanics are mostly workerplacement which I've seen more refined in some other games (e.g. Marco Polo).

Dungeon Lords
Pros: Flavor and theme everywhere, amazing components and artwork, humorous, mechanics are made to transport the theme, definitly no pasted on theme. Still the main phase of this game is a well refined workerplacement game.
Cons: Pretty unforgiving game that severly punishes mistakes (definitly fits the theme, but some players better like it nice and cozy and get cranky when a game is mean...). Battle phase (while it's the smaller part) is a nice, but pretty solitaire puzzle. Best only with 4 players.
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Here are some Games with Emergent Gameplay (Simple Rules - Deep Strategy)
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
One of my favorite games is good old Puerto Rico.
Pros: It's medium weight, plays natural and close to theme, very deep game, low downtime, everybody is involded, pretty interactive and keeps my gaming group exited - many other games get less exciting once you have 5-10 plays, this one doesn't. It's one of the few games I'm 99.99% sure that I'll never sell it.
Cons: Production quality is better than Burgundy (thick tableaus, better artwork), but not top notch.

Of the latest games I liked The Voyages of Marco Polo the most.
Pros: Relavtivly quick playing time, very high replayability because of the truely unique characters which also get a truely assymetric game, interesting use of dice (placement, manipulation, very good component quality.
Cons: Parts of the game (getting resources, trading them to sth. better) are classic.

Yedo is a really good game, but some kind of love it or hate it.
Pros: Flavor and theme everywhere, every contract tells a litlle story, game looks awesome
Cons: Very long playing time (~3-4h), unusually high luck given the long playing time. Core mechanics are mostly workerplacement which I've seen more refined in some other games (e.g. Marco Polo).

Dungeon Lords
Pros: Flavor and theme everywhere, amazing components and artwork, humorous, mechanics are made to transport the theme, definitly no pasted on theme. Still the main phase of this game is a well refined workerplacement game.
Cons: Pretty unforgiving game that severly punishes mistakes (definitly fits the theme, but some players better like it nice and cozy and get cranky when a game is mean...). Battle phase (while it's the smaller part) is a nice, but pretty solitaire puzzle. Best only with 4 players.


Great comparison! One of my first games was Puerto Rico. I have a group who I normally play with, so while it's one I plan to get, it's not one I'd get now since I already play it regularly.

The Voyages of Marco Polo looks intriguing. I've heard nothing but good things from it and I like the asymmetric gameplay. This may end up replacing Yedo for next month, as a few friends have recently told me about their horrible experiences with the game (mainly due to the disasters and 4 hour game time for such a comparatively light game).

I like the concept of Dungeon Lords, but I rarely get the chance to play 4p anymore. What are your thoughts on Dungeon Petz?

tdakanalis wrote:


Awesome list! I have and play many of these (Viticulture, Orleans, etc). There were a few good suggestions on there that I'll checkout. Thanks!

DrumPhil wrote:
Do give a look to Rococo as suggested above. Game play is essentially a thematic version of area majority, with some hand management and drafting and resource management. Art is rich and lovely. It is engaging, though not likely to lead to binge sessions of multiple games in a row. Solid and beautiful game.


I finally looked into Rocoo. I love the aesthetics, but after watching the gameplay, the theme ended up falling a bit flat with the girlfriend.

BahdMufu wrote:
There is a new edition of Brass in the works with better art. It really is an exceptional game.


This will be investigated. Thanks.

scifiantihero wrote:
Keyflower


Key flower didn't go over too well in my group. Something about bidding just doesn't work with us.

-----


Thanks again for all the suggestions!
 
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mavericklancer wrote:
I've heard nothing but good things from it and I like the asymmetric gameplay. This may end up replacing Yedo for next month, as a few friends have recently told me about their horrible experiences with the game (mainly due to the disasters and 4 hour game time for such a comparatively light game)

Personally I wouldn't call Yedo a light game, there's a lot going on in a lot of different game phases, auctions, worker placement with many options, trading under some conditions, cards with effects,... It's higher weight than Puerto Rico, I'd say medium heavy, closer to '4' than to '3' in bgg-terms for me.


Quote:
I like the concept of Dungeon Lords, but I rarely get the chance to play 4p anymore. What are your thoughts on Dungeon Petz?
You can also play Dungeon Lords with 3 or 2 players - there just will be 1 or 2 random 'players' who randomly place workers to block action fields and keep the worker placement actions crowded. So the game will work fine, just a bit less planing, bit more luck. Obviously 4 intelligent human players are more interesting, but still the majority of the voter's at bgg recommend this setup.
I have never played Dungeon Petz but only read quite some reviews about it, so take this evaluation with a grain of salt. It is said to be much more random/luck dependend than Lords (you draw cards and are pretty screwed if you get very wrong ones) and also the theme is less appealing for me. Playing time seems to be rather long, so if your friends did dislike long duration and high luck in Yedo maybe Petz is not the best game for them.
I'd try Petz if I had the chance, but I'm not keen on buying it.
Besides it has the same random player mechanism for less than 4 players, too.

mavericklancer wrote:
Great comparison! One of my first games was Puerto Rico. I have a group who I normally play with, so while it's one I plan to get, it's not one I'd get now since I already play it regularly.
If have a group of Puerto Rico veterans you might like Olympus. You build an ancient civilization by worker placement (others can follow your actions as in Puerto Rico). It's a pretty unforgiving game and - which is quite unique - includes some options to harm other players (there are actions to steal ressources or send plagues), so there are (limited) aggressive options. My group really likes the game, but in groups with touchy players or very high difference in player skill it may very well fail.

Another game that may be interesting for you is Lancaster. Excellent component quality. Worker knight placement is quite interesting (a strong knight can send a weak one back) and players vote for different laws. Brawling in castles, war in France improving your small castles tableau - I'd call this game relativly thematic for a Euro. Refreshingly short playing time, my last two 3 player games took about 1h.

The most thematic worker placement game i know besides Dungeon Lords would be Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island - if coop games are interesting for you this is definitly worth a look.
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