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K S
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The folks on this board have been very helpful to me in the past, so I hope that you may be able to help me again. I am looking for a game to enjoy with my friends and family, who have varying levels of "commitment" to gaming.

I love dice. Two of my favorite games are Roll for the Galaxy and Pandemic: The Cure, because I think the dice add excitement, but there are so many rolls and ways to mitigate unwanted rolls that victory is not entirely luck-based
We play to socialize, so interaction is a must, even if indirect
I love direct player conflict, but not all my other players do, so it would be ideal if any conflict is indirect; co-op is fine, but I worry about "quarterbacking" (though dice should mitigate that concern somewhat)
Scaling is very valuable (2-4 is necessary, and 4+ is better), and it's okay if going from e.g. 3 up to 6 takes a game from "amazing" down to just "good"
The heaviest game that has gone over with folks so far is Roll for the Galaxy; it shouldn't be much heavier than that, but should still offer challenge and fun for "heavier" gamers
30-90 minutes seems to be the sweet spot, but more important than overall length is downtime (which can be at odds with player count); less is better
Variability (e.g. variable setup, variable player powers, etc.) is a huge plus

I know that was a lot of requests, but based on those criteria, do you have any suggestions? Some games that I have been looking at include Elder Sign, Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia and The Voyages of Marco Polo (which only goes to 4). Do you think I would be pleased with any of these? Are there other games that you'd recommend instead? Feel free to mention any expansions that you think would be necessarry/desirable. Thanks so much everybody!
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Kristopher Hickman
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St. Joseph
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Dice? 2-4? 90 Minutes? Check Interaction? Maybe

What about a worker placement game? Alien Frontiers comes to mind as you use dice as workers. I've also heard that Kingsburg does the same thing with a medieval theme. If not, there's always Camel Up.
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Harv Veerman
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+ 1 for Kingsburg

(...and on the very light sight of the spectrum: Favor of the Pharaoh )
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Shane Larsen
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The best dice-manipulation game is, by far, Troyes. It meets every request except that it only plays up to 4 players, and it's slightly heavier than you're asking for. But the gameplay is divine. Highly recommended.

If you're considering Kingsburg, take a look at Kingsport Festival, which is essentially the same game with a different theme and an overhaul on the mechanisms.

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Gary Salazar
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I love Euros so Im recommending The Voyages of Marco Polo and The Castles of Burgundy Also Alien Frontiers.

All great games with dice, indirect player conflict, they are all 2-4 players, falls in the 30-90 min range depending on number of players, little downtime, has good variability. All in my collection. Honorable mention goes into Arcadia Quest.
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John Prewitt
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I think Voyages of Marco Polo is a lot better than Troyes. You can lose in Troyes strictly from bad luck and bad dice rolls. Marco Polo is just more exciting, balanced, and has more variety, IMO.
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Geoffrey Burrell
United States
Cedar Rapids
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D-Day Dice
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James Wahl
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Manila - not 2-4 but 3-5.
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Joris Karpavicius
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Tiny Epic Galaxies
and yes you will like Elder Sign
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Douglas Fost
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I'll throw in Arcadia Quest. This is a 2-4 player game in which you control a group of 3 adventures, each with unique abilities battling for control of Arcadia.

This game does feature direct conflict but done in a light way, I find.

Combat, although simple, is a dice chuckers dream.

Very fun.

Take care,
Douglas Fost
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Kevin Tierney
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Dice Town is great, and can even play 6 with the expansion.

Discoveries is more of a Euro-style dice game, and has interaction with low conflict. It works fine w/ 2 but is best w/ 3 or 4.

+1 for Kinsgsburg. It can run long w/ 4 players, but there is less downtime than the thinkier Alien Frontiers. (Both are good games)

+1 for Marco Polo as well.

Grand Austria Hotel is great for 2, but downtime makes higher player counts less appealing. Still one of my favorite games right now.

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Life is a lamp-flame before a wind.
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Alea Iacta Est might fit the bill. There's competition and interaction, but of a quite harmless kind. Plays fast too.
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dave bcs
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would The Voyages of Marco Polo be too heavy?
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Maarten D. de Jong
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The combination of wishes is hard if not impossible to find. Especially 5+ with quickness, low confrontation, yet sufficiently attractive to gamers is something you will not find.

Yspahan ticks almost all boxes save for 5+ and variability in the setup. If you add the expansion (which is just a bunch of cards), you get extra longevity. I recommend adding them until you're comfortable with the base game, otherwise you'll just be shortening that time frame.

Another game you might be interested in is Airships which too ticks almost all boxes save for 5+ and variability in the setup.

Don't shy away because they're ~ 10 years old. If anything it will make them cheap to purchase meeple.
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Keith B
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Another vote for Kingsburg or even Kingsport Festival.

I love The Voyages of Marco Polo (mentioned above) but with four players it will take longer than 90 minutes.
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Austin Andersen
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King of Tokyo

It has conflict for sure, but it isn't really directed... well sort of. If you aren't in Tokyo, your attacks whoever is in Tokyo and if you are in Tokyo then your attacks everyone that is not in Tokyo. So while the game has conflict, because it isn't really directed it keeps people from feeling like they are being ganged up on.
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Timothy Young
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You should probably take a look at Stone Age.

It's got 7 dice.

It's got lots of player interaction, but not what I think of as direct conflict. (No warfare here, just jockeying for the use of certain action areas.)

It's not a very heavy game. It gets a score of 2.51/5 here on BGG. For reference, Roll for the Galaxy comes in at 2.75.

It has a listed playing time on BGG of 60-90 minutes.

As far as variable set-up goes, I'd say it has plenty. While the board is static, the building tiles, tool tiles and development cards (can't remember the exact names for this stuff) will always vary from game to game.

It plays 2-4.

It's a very well-regarded game among BGG users, with an overall rank of 61.
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K S
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Thank you all for your great responses so far!

I've actually already Kickstarted both Arcadia Quest: Inferno and Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black. I expect TEG to "enter the rotation", but I expect that the conflict, setup and just sheer amount of "stuff" in AQ might be a bit much for many of the folks I play with; I'll certainly be playing it with some of the heavier gamers, but it's not likely to hit the table on the spur of the moment like I'm looking for.

The theme of Alien Frontiers is more appealing to me (I like space), but if Kingsburg has less downtime and supports more players, it might be a better fit (Kingsport Festival seems to require 3 minimum, same concern for Manila). However, I've heard comments that Kingsburg practically "requires" an expansion to be playable, do y'all have any views on that? I've heard these games compared not only to each other, but also to Euphoria (which supports 6), so any comparisons there would also be welcome.

Troyes, The Voyages of Marco Polo and The Castles of Burgundy all look interesting, but they seem a little heavier than the others, we have a few players prone to "analysis paralysis", is that likely to be a problem for these games? On the flip side Dice Town and Camel Up seem like they might be a bit light for the heavier gamers (I know: I'm being really finicky here...)

I see that Alea Iacta Est is being reimplemented as the less-awesomely-named "Order of the Guilded Compass", does anybody know how that compares tot he original?

I hadn't heard of either Discoveries or D-Day Dice, both of which look awesome. D-Day Dice looks like it might be a bit hard to track down, but the simultaneous co-op nature sounds appealing. Can anybody weigh in on how the Co-ops (Pandemic: The Cure, Elder Sign, D-Day Dice) compare to each other?

Thanks again for all of the input, and feel free to keep them coming!
 
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Nathan Howe
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Alea Iacta Est has been mentioned. You can also try the new Order of the Gilded Compass which is another area control/area influence with a archaeology theme. Lots of dice rolling (2-5 Players), treasure tokens, and modular boards.

You might find BANG! The Dice Game entertaining as well. Dice Rolling, Partnerships, Player Elimination, Variable Player Powers.
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Phillip Harpring
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How about Steampunk Rally? You draft cards to build a racing machine, roll dice to power it, watch it fall apart, then repeat until someone gets to the finish line. It scales well even with higher player counts because everyone acts simultaneously. There's functionally no downtime.

Advertised on the box: "Includes 108 Dice!"
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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wamsp wrote:
However, I've heard comments that Kingsburg practically "requires" an expansion to be playable, do y'all have any views on that?

It's been a while, but the expansion adds longevity, and makes a certain step in the entire turn (war? conflict? with some NPC?) much more predictable instead of a crap shoot. But with or without the expansion: the whole just stalls nears the end because how the dice fall will (mostly) confine matters to a certain part of the board. I've never liked this aspect. But since back then the number of 'smart dicing'-games could be counted on the fingers of one hand, everyone put up with its little idiosyncrasies. (That it cost upward of €50 plus another €30 for the expansion in a time when €30 got you a good, nice full game didn't help much either.)

Quote:
Troyes, The Voyages of Marco Polo and The Castles of Burgundy all look interesting, but they seem a little heavier than the others, we have a few players prone to "analysis paralysis", is that likely to be a problem for these games?

They are indeed heavier than the others, and especially Troyes will cause serious AP if people are prone to it. Despite it having some commendable qualities I seriously unrecommend it given your input wishes. The other two are more accessible, but quite the mouthful to teach and play well. Other recommendations (including my own) are much more accessible.

Quote:
On the flip side Dice Town and Camel Up seem like they might be a bit light for the heavier gamers (I know: I'm being really finicky here...)

You are correct; and no, you aren't. You know what you are after.
 
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Gordon
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I'd suggest Dark Moon. Loads of dice in that one!
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Shane Larsen
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79strat wrote:
You can lose in Troyes strictly from bad luck and bad dice rolls. Marco Polo is just more exciting, balanced, and has more variety, IMO.

Imagine that, we have different opinions.

If you lose in Troyes, you played poorly. If you win, you played well. Every further play I log confirms that. In my last game, I had horrible rolls, and even felt like I was losing, because other players just seemed to be jumping on all the things I was trying to do. But what I love most about Troyes is there's always a way to figure out a great move. I ended up winning in that game. I'm not tooting a horn. I'm only saying that experience and smart play will overcome bad rolls in Troyes. In my experience, it's incredibly balanced for a game that presents such diversity from session to session. No two games feel alike. The variety is there, with all the different card combinations that change the game at its core.

Marco Polo, on the other hand, has a lot of variety in where the cities are randomly placed on the board. This creates the potential for poorly balanced game play if the city actions align wrong. Don't get me wrong, I love Marco Polo, it's my second-favorite in the genre...behind Troyes.

At any rate, and as I mentioned in my original post, both these games are heavier than the OP wants. I only recommended in the case that he wanted to stretch a little (on account of Troyes being so good).

To bring it back, maybe check out Ra: The Dice Game. It's OOP, but I don't think it's terribly difficult to get ahold of.
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Mark Nicosia
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+1 for Discoveries: the Journals of Lewis & Clark. A really fun game with really unique (though mild) player interaction, where you can 'take back' your dice from other players before they can use them, but, depending on your board state, it can be costly for you to do so. It's all about timing, in that and the other main mechanism of trying to combo expeditions together. Very light yet really interesting... great game.

Also, any fan of rollin' bones should own Würfel Bohnanza, Alhambra: The Dice Game, and Biblios Dice.
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Marco F.
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... maybe some hybrid games? Such as:
XCOM: The Board Game
City of Remnants
Chaos in the Old World

... all of this are highly asymmetrical with huge direct interaction and many of your requests...
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