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Subject: Help me choose which engine builder to get! rss

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Georg Wolgast
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Hey, this is my first thread so hopefully this is in the right place.

I've got a long list of games that I'm interested in buying and I've got a few engine builders on there, but I'm not sure if I need more than 1 so please help me decide which to get! Also, are the games listed different enough to warrant buying 2 and if so, which 2? I'm also interested in suggestions for games not on this list, the list is more of a guideline.

I guess what I'm looking for in an engine builder is that you feel much more capable/powerful as you play the game, with an endgame that ideally ends with a bang as all your plans come to fruition. While that's usually the idea behind many engine builders, I feel that many fall short of truly achieving that feeling. I don't want to feel that I never got to see the full potential that my creation had because the game ended too quickly. In all games that I enjoy there are possibilities for different strategies, high replayability and plenty of player interaction, so that would also be important here.

Games I'm considering/have played:
• Nations - I'm worried that this game is too long for my gaming group. We're not adverse to long games and if it's engaging for the entire duration it shouldn't be a problem, but we do tend to lean towards playing shorter games more often. I'm also worried that there's not enough interaction.

• Nations: The dice game - Given that I think Nations would be too long, I figured that this may be a good choice. I am worried that it loses a lot of depth by going to the dice format.

• Deus - I love the idea of activating all previously developed buildings of a certain type at once, but I'm worried about the area control integration.

• Splendor - I'm worried that this isn't deep enough and that you don't feel that you're getting more powerful.

• 51st State Master Set - I like the interaction where you can attack other people's buildings, but I'm worried that this ends too quickly to feel like you're getting your engine working.

• Imperial Settlers - Similar to 51st State, but I like the idea of different factions and half the buildings being safe from attack. I'm concerned about the fixed turn timer, which also seems very short, similar to my concern with 51st State.

• Oh my Goods! - This is cheap and quick, but I hear there are some problems with the rules that have been addressed in later printings. Is the game better with the new rules? Does it feel satisfying?

• Roll for the galaxy - I've played this one and liked it a lot, however it didn't feel at all like an engine builder because you're limited in your potential for synergy.

• Race for the Galaxy - I've played this and like it, but it's too quick to fulfil what I'm after in an engine builder.

 
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Jan
Australia
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Nations is a great tableau building game.
In terms of 'not enough interaction': if you don't keep an eye on what your friends are doing/ how much recources they have left (especially stone/ gold) you do not stand a chance of winning the game.
Unlike other tableau building games where you build up your engine in a linear fashion, Nation's engine is all about flexibility. Knowing when you have to focus on military or stability to avoid bad things happening to you is key to playing Nations well.
Superb game.
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Joel Oakley
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Brandon
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GeorgW wrote:
• Oh my Goods! - This is cheap and quick, but I hear there are some problems with the rules that have been addressed in later printings. Is the game better with the new rules? Does it feel satisfying?


Oh My Goods! is definitely improved with the new rules, but it can still be challenging to get much of an engine built and running. However, it's quite satisfying when you are able to do so. I wonder if it would not also be too quick since you mentioned Race for the Galaxy being too quick. It's also far from interactive, but I really enjoy it nonetheless. It's cheap enough to give a try whatever you decide.

For a meatier and more interactive game in the line of Oh My Goods!, why not check out Glass Road? It's definitely got some engine building opportunities, plays quickly (about an hour), and provides enough length to see your plans come to fruition if you use the (designer-)recommended variant of playing 5 building periods instead of 4 (many people say that 4 rounds is just too short, but some prefer the pressure to accomplish as much as possible in such a short time).

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John Burt
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I really like engine building games, and it also really bothers me when the game ends before/just as I crank up my creation.

Oh my Goods! with the new rules has become our "quick go-to" engine building game of choice. It has much more of an engine building feel than Race/Roll with the new rules (with the old rules, it was hard to get your engine set up and running). This game is also cheap and portable, which are very nice features. However, as Joel above mentioned, this game has virtually no interaction, and in fact it makes a great solo with very little modification.

For most heavier engine builders, ones that don't end right away, you're going to have to step up in depth and length. A few I like that give you a "wow, look what I've accomplished!" feel:
Agricola (1-2hrs)
La Granja (1.5-2hrs)
Terraforming Mars (2-3hrs)
Ora et Labora (2-3hrs)

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Brett McLay
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+ 1 Nations and its expansion.

I'll suggest Concordia. It affords multiple player counts -- modest length & complexity.
I find that it flows very well; also enjoy its Mediterranean theme.

Congrats on your first post!

_
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jeremy root
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• Race for the Galaxy - I've played this and like it, but it's too quick to fulfil what I'm after in an engine builder.

Agree. Just started playing this with my brother and it seems like just when you are about to get something rolling, bam, the game is over. Still a pretty darn good game though so far.
 
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Vadim Golembo
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Nations the Dice Game (can't recommend enough & an expansion is supposed to be on the way)
Imperial settlers (great 1-2, 3-4 also great but takes longer)
Roll for the Galaxy (little player interaction but fun)
 
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Adam P
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Saint Petersburg (second edition) : Great, quick engine building! Similar to Splendor but with more depth.

Orléans : Worker engine-building. It's great and easy to play.

Homesteaders : Engine + auction.
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David Brain
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quill65 wrote:
I really like engine building games, and it also really bothers me when the game ends before/just as I crank up my creation.
Just to be ornery here, I feel quite strongly that the best engine building games are exactly the ones that end just before you're quite ready. It forces you to trade-off between pushing for that perfect combination or running early but more inefficiently. It doesn't feel like as much of a challenge otherwise.
 
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John Burt
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Scurra wrote:
quill65 wrote:
I really like engine building games, and it also really bothers me when the game ends before/just as I crank up my creation.
Just to be ornery here, I feel quite strongly that the best engine building games are exactly the ones that end just before you're quite ready. It forces you to trade-off between pushing for that perfect combination or running early but more inefficiently. It doesn't feel like as much of a challenge otherwise.


Sure, you need pressure to keep up the tension, but the question is how many building steps are there between starting out and ending with an engine that outputs VPs? A game like Race involves a lot few steps than, say Ora et Labora with its multiple resource conversion building steps. When you finish Ora, you still feel like there was more you could do, but nevertheless you did a lot.

Just look at this Ora et Labora endgame board:

 
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Georg Wolgast
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Joakley815 wrote:
GeorgW wrote:
• Oh my Goods! - This is cheap and quick, but I hear there are some problems with the rules that have been addressed in later printings. Is the game better with the new rules? Does it feel satisfying?


Oh My Goods! is definitely improved with the new rules, but it can still be challenging to get much of an engine built and running. However, it's quite satisfying when you are able to do so. I wonder if it would not also be too quick since you mentioned Race for the Galaxy being too quick. It's also far from interactive, but I really enjoy it nonetheless. It's cheap enough to give a try whatever you decide.

For a meatier and more interactive game in the line of Oh My Goods!, why not check out Glass Road? It's definitely got some engine building opportunities, plays quickly (about an hour), and provides enough length to see your plans come to fruition if you use the (designer-)recommended variant of playing 5 building periods instead of 4 (many people say that 4 rounds is just too short, but some prefer the pressure to accomplish as much as possible in such a short time).


Thanks for the input on Oh My Goods!, I might buy it and try it out as it's pretty cheap. Glass Road doesn't appeal to me, I'm just not much of an Uwe fan.

jerkyroot wrote:

• Race for the Galaxy - I've played this and like it, but it's too quick to fulfil what I'm after in an engine builder.

Agree. Just started playing this with my brother and it seems like just when you are about to get something rolling, bam, the game is over. Still a pretty darn good game though so far.


It's a great game and I enjoy playing it, but it's not a game I would bring out when I'm in the mood for an engine builder. It fills another niche.

adamredwoods wrote:
Saint Petersburg (second edition) : Great, quick engine building! Similar to Splendor but with more depth.

Orléans : Worker engine-building. It's great and easy to play.

Homesteaders : Engine + auction.


I looked into Saint Petersburg (second edition), it seems like a solid game and it's on sale right now, but I'm worried that there's not enough interaction. Can you comment on that?

N0mE wrote:
Nations the Dice Game (can't recommend enough & an expansion is supposed to be on the way)
Imperial settlers (great 1-2, 3-4 also great but takes longer)
Roll for the Galaxy (little player interaction but fun)

Would you mind explaining more what you enjoy so much about Nations the Dice Game? The game intrigues me and I could use a sales pitch.
 
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Johan Rönnkvist
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Just a quick suggestion!

I would recommend having a look at Ginkgopolis. I was totally amazed at the elegance of this engine builder. It's focused on an area-majority part of the game, so that would have to be something you enjoy as well.

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Simon Maynard
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I guess engine builders will largely fall into one of two categories:

1) They end after a set number of rounds, all players know how long they have to do what they need to do.
2) The game ends as soon as one player triggers the end game condition, meaning that the other players may well get caught out hoping for more turns.

"Nations: The Dice Game" has a set number of rounds but how much you can do/achieve in each round is variable (depending on what you roll and how much you have built up your engine thus far). Inevitably though luck plays a big part.

Peloponnes Card Game is an engine builder with a fixed number of rounds but I suspect that you won't like it as there's a high chance of your precious engine getting damaged by the catastrophes that occur in the game.
 
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Drew
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Nations: The Dice Game and Imperial Settlers get my vote from your list.
 
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Mark Smith

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Played Nations and Imperial Settlers just recently and both are great engine games.
Nations is rewarding and can take a while with 4 + players depending on play styles.
there are multiple mini engines in game as you have to balance a lot of different aspects. You can still ignore some and counter another way which is cool.
Imperial settlers is quicker and do not worry about the timer as the engine builds powerful very fast and the final turn is a mad dash for victory points using all you have built.
Both these can play solo very well , settlers is my favourite using the rules for the campaign from the portal site.
Both have expansions that enhance the games too.
Have not played Deus or oh my goods but your list looks very good so you will probable enjoy what you go for.
 
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Joel Oakley
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GeorgW wrote:

Thanks for the input on Oh My Goods!, I might buy it and try it out as it's pretty cheap. Glass Road doesn't appeal to me, I'm just not much of an Uwe fan.

If you don't enjoy Uwe's games, I still recommend playing (but not buying) Glass Road before rendering judgment. It is one of his more unique designs.

Also, +1 for Ginkgopolis.
 
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Dale Buonocore
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+1 on Terraforming Mars.
Nippon also leaps to mind...
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Michael Drog
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Glory to Rome boom!
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Adam P
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Quote:
I looked into Saint Petersburg (second edition), it seems like a solid game and it's on sale right now, but I'm worried that there's not enough interaction. Can you comment on that?/

True, not a lot of interaction except for card selection, but the market expansion gives some nice majority competition from round to round. I'd say the interaction is no worse than Nations: Dice or Imperial Settlers.

 
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Chad Jacobson

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My two favorite engine builders are Imoerial Settlers and Terraforming Mars though I enjoy Deus as well. The other games you mentioned are fun, but don't feel as much like central engine builders for one reason or another, but it's been awhile since I last played Nations. Regardless, 51st State plays more like a race game, but IS lets you watch the huge engine you've built for a turn or two. I also like playing the different factions and having a theme doesn't matter to me. But 51st's art is certainly better. Terraforming Mars similarly is much longer, but most people seem not to notice the time with this one. Both games make you feel clever finding the delicious card combos.
 
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Georg Wolgast
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Joakley815 wrote:
GeorgW wrote:

Thanks for the input on Oh My Goods!, I might buy it and try it out as it's pretty cheap. Glass Road doesn't appeal to me, I'm just not much of an Uwe fan.

If you don't enjoy Uwe's games, I still recommend playing (but not buying) Glass Road before rendering judgment. It is one of his more unique designs.

Also, +1 for Ginkgopolis.


IF I find a way of trying out Glass Road, I'll definitely do it, because it could appeal to me. It's just hard for me to try new games because I'm the primary collector in my group and there's no FLGS where you can try out games.

gohawks wrote:
My two favorite engine builders are Imoerial Settlers and Terraforming Mars though I enjoy Deus as well. The other games you mentioned are fun, but don't feel as much like central engine builders for one reason or another, but it's been awhile since I last played Nations. Regardless, 51st State plays more like a race game, but IS lets you watch the huge engine you've built for a turn or two. I also like playing the different factions and having a theme doesn't matter to me. But 51st's art is certainly better. Terraforming Mars similarly is much longer, but most people seem not to notice the time with this one. Both games make you feel clever finding the delicious card combos.

There are a lot of people recommending Terraforming Mars, I like the theme and it looks good, I'm just worried that there's sort of a cult of the new that's elevating people's opinion of it.

I'm curious to hear more about what you feel is different between 51st State and Imperial Settlers, as well as your thoughts on Deus because that was my front runner but no one seems to talk about it.
 
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Georg Wolgast
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So after some more thought and your input, I've got some more concerns:

Deus - I've heard some criticism that it's too random and there's not enough interaction, but I still like that you activate your whole column at once, it seems to have that satisfaction when you get a good combo going that I'm looking for.

Oh My Goods! - It's still cheap and I can get the expansion if I want to, but the expansion is twice as expensive as the original game. I'm still wondering if it's good/satisfying enough and also is the expansion is worth it.

51st State: Master Set/Imperial Settlers - I'm still not sure which one I'd prefer. I'm worried about not enough player interaction, sure you can destroy each other's buildings, but I hear that's not that common. Is that true? Is there some other form of meaningful interaction?

Nations: The Dice Game - I don't think my group will have the patience for the regular game, but I'm worried that the randomness of the dice will be frustrating in this kind of genre. Is that true for this game? Is the conversion to a dice game good?

Saint Petersburg (second edition) - I like that there's a market, that eliminates some of the luck, but the theme is very bland and I'm worried that there's too little interaction.
 
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