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Subject: Should I try some of the heavier games? rss

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Brad N
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I'm relatively new to BGG, but not-so-new to board games as I grew up playing many different kinds. I've gotten into even more varieties in the last several months after discovering BGG through Funagain's Web site.

I enjoy playing all kinds of board games and I play with a few different groups of people, but the most common group includes me, my wife and my parents. We play mostly lighter games and some in the mediumish category... a few of our favorites include:
- Ticket to Ride
- Settlers of Catan
- Carcassonne
- Bohnanza
- Incan Gold
- Coloretto
- Survive!
- No Thanks!

I consider myself an intelligent person (and the rest of our gaming group is intelligent), but I just don't see myself getting interested in a heavy, 2-3 hour game where I am balancing a ton of information.

My dad and I were chatting last night about how we both feel a game like Settlers is about as deep as we want to get into a board game. He and I have studied and played Chess each other at a pretty high level and he is a life master bridge player as well. So, it's not like we don't like something heavy, we're just not sure that we have the time or interest to get into heavier board games. As a side note, my mom is also a life master bridge player but neither she nor my wife have any interest in chess (it's mostly a problem with abstract games, I think).

The board games I mentioned above are good examples of games that we think require enough thought and strategy to be interesting and not so much that we feel like we have to study the game to get good (like has happened for both of us with Chess and Bridge).

Can anyone out there convince me why I should try some of the heavier games? I'm thinking about games like (to take a few of the games rated highly on BGG):
- Puerto Rico
- Tigris & Euphrates
- Power Grid
- Caylus
- El Grande

Or, are there others who have been in this situation and found that simply playing the games like those that I mentioned at the top are good enough to satisfy their boardgaming interest?

Any thoughts are appreciated.
 
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Gabe Alvaro
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The mere fact that you are even asking indicates you are curious about more depth. Those five are all very different but all good choices, so pick the one whose gameplay and theme most interest you, play it a half-dozen times and then reevaluate whether you want to spend more time in the deep end.
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Jon
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There are some "heavier" games that still have fairly straightforward rules, and aren't that much of a bear to learn to play.

Depends on what you like and what you're interested in. If you're happy now and not interested in other games, even after you read peoples' comments and reviews on this website, then you're all set, right?

El Grande, you mentioned, is really pretty simple, once you start. Studying it a lot wouldn't help very much. Puerto Rico is not very straightforward. Studying it would help, a lot.

Java is pretty simple; not too many rules, but can cause very deep thinking. You chess masters might like that "heavier game"

Maybe Java is exactly what you don't want.

You say that you've decided that you're not interested in a 2-3 hour game where you have to balance information. Then stay away from that kind of game. Some people like them (many people who rate games on this site seem to love them), most people don't.

Read stuff on this site, and if there's something that interests you, then go for it.

The games you like are good games. They're fun.

What are you asking? For people to sell you on the idea of playing other games, especially the kind you don't want to play?
 
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Nate Straight

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"Heavy" doesn't necessarily mean "balancing a lot of information" nor "2-3 hour game." There are many games that require a "heavy" level of thought, but don't have an inordinate amount of "stuff" to fiddle around with in your head nor require an inordinate amount of time. In general, I would recommend that you do try some heavier games, as they tend to reward strategic play (as opposed to "dumb luck") more than the games that you've experienced thus far do. Overall, it's a very different game experience to see your master plan come to life and thwart your enemies than it is to get a few lucky rolls or card pulls. That's not to say that games like Ticket To Ride and Settlers Of Catan don't have strategy, because they certainly do, but they are at a much lower level than many of the "heavy" games you've mentioned (and many you probably haven't heard of yet).

A nice step forward for you might be to get some "intermediate" games that are either revisions of or expansions to games you already enjoy. Games like Ticket to Ride: Europe, Ticket to Ride: Märklin, Catan: Cities & Knights, and Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals+Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders would give you an idea of whether you and your family would enjoy a heavier gaming experience, without overwhelming you with boatloads of new information (since you'd already be familiar with the basic game concepts). I'd strongly recommend Ticket to Ride: Europe and Catan: Cities & Knights out of this little list here. Both are great substitutes / additions to the games that they're based on, and both contain enough added "stuff" to make the gameplay significantly heavier without compromising familiarity.

Of the games you already listed as being interested in, I have played all but one (Caylus), and I would probably recommend Puerto Rico first. It is one of the heavier ones in the group (there's a lot of up-front information to learn), but it's also one of the least abstract (and, therefore, feels less "thinky" than the others). It's also one of the shorter ones on that list.
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Morgan Dontanville
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bnordeng wrote:

Can anyone out there convince me why I should try some of the heavier games? I'm thinking about games like (to take a few of the games rated highly on BGG):
- Puerto Rico
- Tigris & Euphrates
- Power Grid
- Caylus
- El Grande


If it helps you, none of these are particularly heavy (Caylus perhaps being an exception). These are solid mid-weight games, when you compare these to games like Dutch Revolution, Indonesia, 18xx, Antiquity, Die Macher or others of their ilk.
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Mark C
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Definitely try Puerto Rico or Power Grid. Both of those are heavier than what you're playing, but still not overly long or demanding on your brain. At some point your group will let you know where the limits are. If you like those, maybe try Imperial. Good luck!
 
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Chester
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Quote:
Should I try some of the heavier games?


Yes.
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Billy McBoatface
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I think anybody who has become skilled at either bridge or chess would enjoy a game like Power Grid or Puerto Rico.

One big difference: It takes lots of practice to become good at either bridge or chess. At both of those games, you enjoy it more as you become better at the game. But with these medium/heavy eurogames, being "better" at the game is less important to enjoying it. By your second game of Power Grid you will be pretty good at the game! There's still room to improve, but you'll be plenty good enough to have a fun time playing.

So my advice is to get one of those games you've listed. I've played Puerto Rico, Power Grid, and T&E, and I'd recommend Power Grid as the first one to try: The rules are a little bit hairy in parts, but if *one* player takes the time to learn all the ins and outs of how to keep the power plant auction cards working properly, then it is extremely easy for everybody else to pick up. Once you know "You run an electric utility, you need to buy power plants, fuel, and substations," then you really know almost everything you need to get through the game.

Puerto Rico is also not hard to learn, but I think it's harder for one player to learn well beforehand and let the other players just "do what seems right".

T&E is more of a conflict game, which is great, but I wouldn't try it at first just because that might be part of what turned off your wife and mother to chess. Also, for T&E to make any sense to you, you have to know how to resolve the conflicts, and that can be pretty confusing at first.

In any case, I think you really should give it a try. All three games that I've tried (Power Grid, PR, and T&E) are loads of fun, and you and your group will probably enjoy them.
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Eric Knauer
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There are a lot of solid games in the Settlers weight category that you might want to explore before you play the games you mentioned (which are all classics and worth buying)-

-Blue Moon City
-China
-Railroad Tycoon
-Yspahan
-Ra
-Hermagor
-Keythedral
-Oasis
-Pillars of the Earth
-Santiago
-Thurn and Taxi
-Tikal
-Arkadia



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Andy Parsons
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Ask yourself about your reason for posting this question. If you are genuinely curious about playing some heavier games, then visit a local games club or a convention, log on to BrettspielWelt or make an experimental purchase - and try one.

If, on the other hand, you see the heavier games you've named sitting high in the rankings and feel you ought to be playing them; then my advice is to be happy with the games you already enjoy. Despite the occasional opinion to the contrary that is voiced around here, you don't have to master Puerto Rico, E&T and Caylus to be a real gamer.
 
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Ed
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Well of course you should try them! Life is about trying things. But if the board game police knock down your door and arrest you, you don't know me!

I've had a lot of success teaching Power Grid to people who generally prefer lighter games. Try that one and report back to us. I want Die Macher on the table by the end of the year, understand?
 
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bnordeng wrote:


Can anyone out there convince me why I should try some of the heavier games? I'm thinking about games like (to take a few of the games rated highly on BGG):
- Puerto Rico
- Tigris & Euphrates
- Power Grid
- Caylus
- El Grande



From that list, I've played Puerto Rico, Power Grid, and El Grande. I'd put those in my top 5 favorite games and I don't think of myself as one who plays heavy games. I'm more of a gateway game fan. I have a feeling you'll play the games you mentioned and think, "Wow, those aren't what I envisioned as heavy."

Games with hundreds of chits, ruleBOOKS, and years of errata and updates...now those are heavy games.
 
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Brad N
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Thank you for all of the feedback. I really enjoy this site and the fact that everyone seems so willing to give their opinions (with an occassional 'jab').

jwandke wrote:
What are you asking? For people to sell you on the idea of playing other games, especially the kind you don't want to play?


This is a fair question and the answer is that I don't know. At this point, I feel like I don't want to invest the time and effort into some of the "heavier" games (I know that the games I listed as "heavier" wouldn't necessarily fall into the "heavy" list, but from what I can tell they are definitely heavier than what I have been playing). If I was 100% convinced that I didn't want to make the plunge then I guess I wouldn't have put this post out there.

I like the idea from several folks to try something a level up, but not too far (either one of the newer TTR games or maybe even Power Grid). Power Grid seems like a good pick because I work for a utility company so the theme definitely interests me.

I'll keep checking back here for more thoughts and report back once I've stepped into something heavier than where I am now. Thanks!
 
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Bill Eldard
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Allow me to play Devil's Advocate here and recommend that you not try any heavier games. If you are perfectly satisfied with the games that you have already experienced, and have reservations about playing Puerto Rico or Power Grid, then don't play them. By avoiding these games, you'll avoid the risk of acquiring Euro-addiction, which will drain your bank account and fill up your closet quicker than you can say "Tigris and Euphrates."
 
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Ted Groth
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cornjob wrote:
Quote:
Should I try some of the heavier games?


Yes.


But be sure to reinforce your game shelves to carry the extra weight!
 
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Ed Sherman
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bnordeng wrote:
I like the idea from several folks to try something a level up, but not too far (either one of the newer TTR games or maybe even Power Grid). Power Grid seems like a good pick because I work for a utility company so the theme definitely interests me.


Power Grid is an excellent game. However, the first time around the rules are a little weird. It's worth it though.

If you want something maybe just a little heavier, Thurn and Taxis or Blue Moon City are great games.
 
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Alexander B.
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I once asked myself this question then bought these games. Here was my own reaction:

- Puerto Rico thumbsup
- Tigris & Euphrates thumbsdown thumbsdown
- Power Grid thumbsupthumbsup
- Caylus thumbsdown
- El Grande thumbsdown

and more

- Leonardo da Vinci thumbsupthumbsup
- Princes of Florence thumbsup thumbsup
- Taj Mahal thumbsup
- Goa thumbsup
- Ra thumbsup



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Brad N
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What about Torres?
I meant to include something in my original message about Torres. I have not played this game, but my parents bought it and have played it once or twice and they are intrigued. I see the Avg. Game Weight here on BGG is 2.95 and many people seem to think this is a dry and abstract game so I doesn't seem like something that should work for them. Still, they liked it and that means that we will probably be playing it sometime soon.

Does it make sense that Torres could be a next step for our gaming group? Does the game weight close to 3 fit?
 
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I also recommend Power Grid. Helped transform my non gamer girlfriend into a curious euro friendly carcassonne addict. The rules take all of 10 minutes to explain, and my 13 year old brother joins us in this game and frequently.. well... wins.

Anyway, I think 'heavy' isnt the right word for any game in this list except maybe Puerto Rico which I only call heavy because it is so hard to learn for new players

In fact my game group which is my girlfriend (19) my little brother (13) and some of my D&D group, and they were all non gamers. We play and love Tigris and Euphrates and Power Grid. I just got Caylus but after 1 3 player game I feel its a bit on the long side, but Powergrid and T&E are not heavy enough for you to be afraid of them! Go out and game
 
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Here are some games that I think you would really enjoy based on your current likes:
China
Yspahan
San Marco
Taj Mahal
Tichu
You shouldn't have any trouble getting these to the table regularly.
 
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Brad, the fact that you're having fun and enjoying the lighter weight games is all you need to know. That's the point of playing games so don't feel you have to delve deeper if you're happy where you are.

I agree with a couple of the other posters that there are many great games in the lighter category. Check those out and when you and your family actually feel the need to get into more serious thinking, then you can move up. There's no need to rush it.
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PowerGrid is one of my favorite games, but it is heavy on the analysis - you really have to pay attention to everybody's moves. Because of this, PowerGrid does have a core of detractors.

One game that hasn't been mentioned is Traders of Genoa. Especially if you've got people that play bridge, this would be an awesome game. It is total multiplayer interaction like none of the other games listed here.

It's a little more complex than Settlers, but once you have it down it has a very natural flow.
 
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Joe Cappello
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Why not try some of the middle-weight games as a seque into the heavier games? I have played all but two of the games you own and it sounds like I'd enjoy playing with you. For my tastes, the "heavy" games are beyond my enjoyment - I seem to think that if you ask one hundred "experts" what the next move should be in heavy games, ninety-nine of them will say the same thing. Heavy games seem to be syllogistic. That's not to say you won't enjoy them until you try them. Maybe you're aiming too low.

However, there are a slew of games that include both random and deliberate elements that are a step toward Caylus, Puerto Rico, and Power Grid such as Hollywood Blockbuster, Cleopatra, Pillars of the Earth, Himalaya, Tempus, Taluva, Dungeon Twister, and Gheos. There are a ton of games of different genres, as well, such as Roborally, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Return of the Heroes that you might consider trying. I am certainly no authority on boardgames, but I do believe that there is a whole middle part of the distribution curve that you might try before you go to heavy.

My two favored games right now are Formula De' and Pillars of the Earth. Formula De' is a damn fun game when you play with a bunch of people - it frequently results in nail-biting situations where, depending on the crew you play with, there is yelling and screaming (in the best sense). Pillars of the Earth is just a lovely game - relatively easy to learn but challenging to master due, in part, to the randomness built into the game.

In any event, the truth of the matter is that you will not play the heavies if you don't enjoy them - if you can borrow them to test-drive, that might save you resources for other games. Additionally, those games are best taught to you by someone who can remain objective and knows them

Just a few thoughts.
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Some time ago I was asking almost exactly the same questions as the original poster, and created this GeekList to help give some direction in where to go next:

The Ultimate Next Step List: What should you choose after Settlers of Catan?
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/17146

Some of the comments posted by users there proved very helpful to me, and perhaps you might find some of the info there useful as well. Further comments on the games listed there are, of course, welcome!
 
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Puerto Rico and Power Grid are not really heavy games. I'd call them medium, to be perfectly honest. Once you play them you'll feel kind of foolish staying away for so long.

For one, Puerto Rico and Power Grid can be played in about the same time frame as Settler's of Catan. Secondly, they are fairly simple when it comes to enumerating the mechanics. Of course, much like Settlers, the limited mechanics come together and build a fairly robust machine, but I'd not really call them "heavy" or complex.

On the otherhand, Caylus (the only other in your list that I'd personally played) *is* a game with a heavy rule set, but still is only a step above PR in regards to complexity.

IMHO, going from Settlers to Puerto Rico is like going from Puerto Rico to Caylus.

I'd say go with PR and PG first. They're probably the simplest in the list both really excellent. PR actually works amazingly well with two players (official alea variant) and PG is practically a party game, imho.

ps: Don't forget Pillars of the Earth. Brilliant game that straddles the divide between "hardcore" and "medium" euro (very simple and family oriented but still deep enough to be comparable to Caylus).
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