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Subject: Subtle/Nebulous Area Majority Game? rss

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Chris Williams

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I asked once before for a game like a slimmed down Dominant Species. Out of that, I ended up trying Tammany Hall (and El Grande looks to be effectively the same game, based on the reviews/tutorials I've seen), but I have two problems with these games:

1) They're too much like abstract strategy games. I feel like I'd do just as well to bring out Crabz or Battle Sheep or something. So I do want something with fewer moving parts than Dominant Species, but perhaps not quite that much. A middle ground would be nice.

2) They're too focused on troop movements. In thinking about it more, I think that what I liked about Dominant Species was that I had the ability to affect the board, not just my own pieces, for a nice god-like megalomaniac enjoyment. And most of what I was doing, even when it was in regards to my own pieces was very nebulous. I wasn't just moving my people around and kicking people out of squares. The things that I was doing with my team were a lot more subtle, so that one wouldn't necessarily be able to tell what my grand strategy was. For large portions of the game, I wouldn't even move my pieces at all.

So, with these considerations in mind, does anyone have any good suggestions for some games to take a look at?
 
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George Louie
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AnalyzerOfGames wrote:
I asked once before for a game like a slimmed down Dominant Species.

In thinking about it more, I think that what I liked about Dominant Species was that I had the ability to affect the board, not just my own pieces, for a nice god-like megalomaniac enjoyment.

So, with these considerations in mind, does anyone have any good suggestions for some games to take a look at?


You should find a copy of Gaïa. I think it may be just the game you're looking for.. It definitely lets you impact the board. You're a god, and you change the terrain from mountains to volcanoes, swamp to dry land, and pastures and oceans.. You can also cause volcanic eruptions, flooding, lightning bolts..

Its similar to Dominant Species in that you are molding the world terrain to allow your people to survive. But its not nearly as complex...

You don't see many copies of it available, at least I haven't.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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AnalyzerOfGames wrote:
Out of that, I ended up trying Tammany Hall (and El Grande looks to be effectively the same game, based on the reviews/tutorials I've seen),

In the sense that, effectively, Russian Railroads is like Leonardo da Vinci is like Voyages of Marco Polo is like The Manhattan Project, yes, TH and EG are 'the same game'. But they are obviously not the same game, and do not play out the same even though the core mechanism is similar.

Quote:
1) They're too much like abstract strategy games.

Well, duh. That said, I can understand the sentiment with EG, but not with TH with its strong ties to political history.

Quote:
2) They're too focused on troop movements.

These are 60 to 90 minute games: you can't transcribe the entire Dominant Spieces-experience to something lasting this short without making a few concessions along the way.

Quote:
So, with these considerations in mind, does anyone have any good suggestions for some games to take a look at?

No, not really. For one thing it appears that you do not seem to care about the area majority aspect all that much; and for another the mechanism had its heyday in a time when artificial subject matter and mechanistical focus (what you call 'abstract strategy') were considered non-issues, if at all. The '(abstract) troop movement' you so dislike will be present in most, if not all suggestions you've been given. If I were pressed, I would say you don't really want a pure area majorities game, but instead want a game in which the mechanism is embedded so that you can manipulate things other than the 'troops'. Even here there aren't many options: area majority is really quite rare. Nippon is probably as good a place to start as any then.

Edit: Inspired by Gaïa above, there is Gheos—not really area majorities, though. Bison: Thunder on the Prairie has been recommended previously, I believe... but if not, check it out. Be warned that the otherwise lovely artwork is a great hindrance to play.
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Chris Williams

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glouie wrote:
You should find a copy of Gaïa.

The review of it up on the site describes it as a filler and the comments indicate that there's some take-that cards in the game that make the game pretty non-subtle. If one bought two copies and stripped out some of the take-that cards, do you think it could be expanded into a longer, deeper game?
 
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Stephen Jacobsen
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Possibly check out Mare Nostrum: Empires
It isn't area majority per se, but it has aspects that feel like area majority. There are several different goals you can aspire to, so in that sense it is a bit more nebulous. It also has the pretty simple and shortish gameplay leading to a deeper experience.
 
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Chris Williams

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cymric wrote:
Quote:
1) They're too much like abstract strategy games.

Well, duh. That said, I can understand the sentiment with EG, but not with TH with its strong ties to political history.

The voting mechanism used in the game may be thematically accurate (though, I somewhat doubt it), but just because a mechanic is based on the real world does not mean that it doesn't play out like an abstract strategy.

cymric wrote:
Quote:
So, with these considerations in mind, does anyone have any good suggestions for some games to take a look at?

No, not really. For one thing it appears that you do not seem to care about the area majority aspect all that much; and for another the mechanism had its heyday in a time when artificial subject matter and mechanistical focus (what you call 'abstract strategy') were considered non-issues, if at all. The '(abstract) troop movement' you so dislike will be present in most, if not all suggestions you've been given. If I were pressed, I would say you don't really want a pure area majorities game, but instead want a game in which the mechanism is embedded so that you can manipulate things other than the 'troops'. Even here there aren't many options: area majority is really quite rare. Nippon is probably as good a place to start as any then.

You're reading too much into my post. I enjoy Tammany, troop movements, etc. Nowhere did I express dislike.

But, just because I like Tammany or just because I would probably like El Grande doesn't mean that they scratch the particular itch that I'm going for in this particular thread.
 
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Mike Jones
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Went ahead and deleted my responses. Since they were of no interest to you.
 
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Chris Williams

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Guantanamo wrote:
Went ahead and deleted my responses. Since they were of no interest to you.

They were of interest! There was just more information about them than Gaia. I was going to watch some video reviews later, when I was home, to see if they fit what I was looking for.

If you do think they fit my description, please do list them out again.
 
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chris thatcher
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May seem like a strange suggestion but have a look at Amun-Re
 
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George Louie
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AnalyzerOfGames wrote:
glouie wrote:
You should find a copy of Gaïa.

The review of it up on the site describes it as a filler and the comments indicate that there's some take-that cards in the game that make the game pretty non-subtle. If one bought two copies and stripped out some of the take-that cards, do you think it could be expanded into a longer, deeper game?


I guess it could go longer if you increased the number of meeples you had to place, but I don't think it will be any deeper. Its true, there is some no so subtle "take that" to the game, but its no more voracious than Dominant Species... DS can be pretty cut throat, at least the way my group plays it, so I never considered pulling out the "take-that" cards.

 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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AnalyzerOfGames wrote:
The voting mechanism used in the game may be thematically accurate (though, I somewhat doubt it), but just because a mechanic is based on the real world does not mean that it doesn't play out like an abstract strategy.

It is all abstract strategy as it is cardboard and wooden tokens and playing cards, while you play to win (I presume). Even in case of DS. I'm sorry to put it like this but this problem is one of perception, and as such its solution is entirely up to yourself.

Quote:
You're reading too much into my post. I enjoy Tammany, troop movements, etc. Nowhere did I express dislike.

I apologise, but your statements seemed pretty absolute to me. But even if you do like troop movement, what you want does not exist in my opinion. As I stated previously the mechanism had its heyday in another age of boardgaming where 'nebulousness' simply wasn't a thing, and the raw mechanism itself featured rather prominently in the whole. Hence me suggesting present day Nippon, because the area majorities of that game are embedded in a larger whole which may help in creating the nebulousness you desire.
 
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upandawaygames.com
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How about American Megafauna or Bios Megafauna?
 
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Chris Williams

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cymric wrote:
what you want does not exist in my opinion. As I stated previously the mechanism had its heyday in another age of boardgaming where 'nebulousness' simply wasn't a thing, and the raw mechanism itself featured rather prominently in the whole.

I searched a bit last night and found Dominare, which everything seems to describe as being subtle and nebulous. No board state changes, but it does seem to be in the right territory.

Quote:
Hence me suggesting present day Nippon, because the area majorities of that game are embedded in a larger whole which may help in creating the nebulousness you desire.

I watched a game overview last night and it seemed more like a financial/building game. Though, granted, it might seem different if I could actually play it.
 
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Chris Williams

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heli wrote:
How about American Megafauna or Bios Megafauna?

Same theme as Dominant Species, but these don't seem to have the subtleness nor the ability to manipulate the board, from what I can tell from reviews?
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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AnalyzerOfGames wrote:
I searched a bit last night and found Dominare, which everything seems to describe as being subtle and nebulous. No board state changes, but it does seem to be in the right territory.

Ah, the Tempest series... My Spiel notes of 2012 make no mention of the publisher nor the game of Dominare, and I think I recall why: first, publisher AEG had by then ceased to be interesting to me and my partner; second, the rule book was huge and back then I was still in the habit of reading through rules books in preparation for the event; and third, I wasn't interested in games set in a 'created world'. To find out, today, that the public's favourite Love Letter originates from AEG, and is actually situated in Tempest... that came as a big surprise. Thanks for having me look into that.

In any case, the rules still give me the heebie-jeebies, so if you're of the opinion that it is that might meet your requirements, then of course great.

Quote:
I watched a game overview last night and it seemed more like a financial/building game. Though, granted, it might seem different if I could actually play it.

Yes, it is about finance and building. But gaining industrial influence, represented by the majority mechanism, is too a very important aspect; and so it comes with quite a few support mechanisms.
 
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