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Subject: No luck + thematic + simple/elegant rules rss

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Noah Neumann
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Can anyone suggest some games that feature little to no luck and yet still have some nice theming. Ideally games with fairly simple and elegant rules yet still offer a good deal of strategy. My wife doesn't like games with a lot of luck but she doesn't like abstract strategy either.
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Matt Riddle
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neumonkey wrote:
Can anyone suggest some games that feature little to no luck and yet still have some nice theming. Ideally games with fairly simple and elegant rules yet still offer a good deal of strategy. My wife doesn't like games with a lot of luck but she doesn't like abstract strategy either.


Everything that came to mind is pretty theme-light. Are you looking for 2p primarily?
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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A few possibilities:

Concordia is a game I have read about and watched videos about but not actually played. It's a game about trading and building in the Mediterranean. It is a eurogame with a 4-page rulebook. The basic rule is that you play one card each turn and do what the card says. The cards you play are from your hand, so they are not shuffled -- no randomness there. The game has variable setup (in how the resources are placed). It also uses a display of cards that can be purchased -- I think the order of these cards is the only random element once play has begun.

Antike Duellum is by the same designer and uses a rondel rather than a hand of cards for action selection. It is a mix of resource management, building, expansion, and attacking. Under certain conditions (typically after your opponent scores a point), you get to choose a card from a 3-card display, and the order in which these cards come out is the only randomness in the game. You can play it on yucata.de for free if you want to try it out.

Edit: You'll have to see whether these games are thematic enough. I think the rules to the above are simple enough to grasp after 1 or 2 plays, and I certainly consider both games to be low luck, but I'm not sure if they have enough theme for you.
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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It might help if you gave us some examples of games that your wife didn't like and why.

I think part of the problem may be that the terms themed and thematic are a bit confusing. You can apply a theme to a pretty abstract game (and you end up with a eurogame). But if you want a thematic game, those tend to be games that have a lot of rules and luck and somewhat less strategy. If you look at the top games marked as Thematic by BGG (do Advanced Search, then in Subdomain at the bottom, select Thematic), they all seem to have a good deal of luck, a longer rulebook, or both.
 
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Derek H
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Patchwork?

But, as others have said, not sure how close to a "theme" you think it has...

Otherwise König von Siam where "After the initial setup King of Siam has no random elements and no luck. The game is playable by 2-3 players individually or four players in partnerships.". Re-implemented (re-themed??) as The King Is Dead.
 
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Collin Pastorius
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Gold West has been a nice thematic game for my wife and myself to play. Some people say the theme is pasted on, but I feel that the mechanisms in the game symbolize things well like the mancala on your player board being like you're panning out your precious metals/resources, the looting mechanism being that you had no funds to build a camp of you're own so you had to steal from the town, etc. The strategy level is almost 100% too. Some of the resource tiles are face down on the board, but from the color on each tile you can still know there is at least one specific material there.

Also, we taught this one to a non-gamer in a little over 5 minutes with just a couple of questions during gameplay.
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Noah Neumann
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Thanks for the good replies. I will definitely check those games out.

The game doesn't have to be hugely thematic. It's just that my wife doesn't like pure abstract games like chess or go. Even a pasted on theme might fool her into enjoying an abstract strategy if it has nice artwork.

She complains that Ticket to Ride has too much luck. And even Viticulture!

She's picky. Lol.
 
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Bill Eldard
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Of 2-player games, I recommend Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. It has no luck, great bits that go with the farming theme, and yet each game seems to evolve differently. It also has expansions for increased variety.

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Miles Stevenson
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Jacob Schoberg
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Maybe... and I say maybe... Legends of Andor. It has dice rolling for the combat, but you almost never fight things unless you're pretty sure you're going to win. It's mostly a time management game, and it's awesome, but it isn't for everyone.

The creature movement is all pre-planned and available information, but even given that, it might be more random than what she'd like.

As others have mentioned, finding a zero randomness game with theme sounds like a difficult prospect. Especially if card draw variability is too random for her laugh.

edit: The more I think about it, the more I think Legends of Andor is going to be too random for her tastes.
 
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Jesse Knoedler
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Splendor is probably the game that's been the most fun for my wife and me to play. Very simple stripped down game that takes about a half hour play time but allows for a fair amount of strategy. Fun theme about being a gem merchant too.
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Eldard wrote:
Of 2-player games, I recommend Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. It has no luck, great bits that go with the farming theme, and yet each game seems to evolve differently. It also has expansions for increased variety.



I was going to recommend this one, but I'm not sure if it's elegant / few rules enough for you. Definitely fits "themed" and no-luck.
 
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I like Barony a lot - simple rules - great art - strong interaction - no luck - and I like the territory occupation style -
 
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Kevin Garnica
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+1 Gold West & The King is Dead

Also try: Via Nebula, Imhotep, Among the Stars
 
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neumonkey wrote:
Can anyone suggest some games that feature little to no luck and yet still have some nice theming. Ideally games with fairly simple and elegant rules yet still offer a good deal of strategy. My wife doesn't like games with a lot of luck but she doesn't like abstract strategy either.


It's not easy to give a recommendation based on this. "Thematic", which seems to equal cards with "dramatic" text, plastic miniatures, and kitch artwork nowadays, is basically the opposite of "simple/elegant".
 
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Carel Teijgeler
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Joel Oakley
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Since you mentioned that she thought Viticulture had too much luck, I recommend checking out Brew Crafters. It is a very thematic game that is just a little more complex than Viticulture. The positive for your situation is that it has absolutely zero luck apart from the randomized set up and initial turn order.
 
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K S
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neumonkey wrote:
The game doesn't have to be hugely thematic. It's just that my wife doesn't like pure abstract games like chess or go. Even a pasted on theme might fool her into enjoying an abstract strategy if it has nice artwork.

Well, I take issue with the notion that Chess is a "pure abstract" game; I think it's got a pasted on theme.

What kind of themes generally appeal to you two?
 
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Matt Brown
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jvk1127 wrote:
Fun theme about being a gem merchant too.




+1 to Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
 
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Mike Manning
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I have been enjoying Letters from Whitechapel recently. My wife enjoys playing Jack and she's not a huge strategy gamer. It's somewhat thematic and the rules are pretty inuitive. I've introduced it to many people, including couples and families, recently and it has always been well received. May be worth your time to check out.
 
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Orleans is a pretty fun streamlined euro game, but maybe not all that thematic(the Invasion exp helps).

If you really want to jump in the deep end, there is Food chain magnet.

 
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Derek H
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neumonkey wrote:
Thanks for the good replies. I will definitely check those games out.

The game doesn't have to be hugely thematic. It's just that my wife doesn't like pure abstract games like chess or go. Even a pasted on theme might fool her into enjoying an abstract strategy if it has nice artwork.

You could also try Aton. It is a little bit abstract, but the artwork is nice and definitely requires strategy to adapt to the choices you have to make every round. A good review here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/521590/quick-cheap-and-deep...
 
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Noah Neumann
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Concordia looks really good but unfortunately it seems to be sold out everywhere right now

I had thought about Agricola: All Creatures. It definitely fits my criteria but I have played it in my phone and I don't love it that much.
 
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Noah Neumann
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Butsudoka wrote:

It's not easy to give a recommendation based on this. "Thematic", which seems to equal cards with "dramatic" text, plastic miniatures, and kitch artwork nowadays, is basically the opposite of "simple/elegant".


"Thematic" does have that definition these days which is unfortunate.

But to me when I consider a game to be strongly thematic its a game where the mechanisms and actions tie in logically and believably to the theme of the game.

Pretty much any game does this but some do it a lot better than others.
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Ray
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I might be a little biased because I had two great games of it recently but Lord of the Rings the Confrontation
 
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