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Subject: Game that are simple to explain but have lots of depth. rss

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List the games you think that are simple to explain but have lots of depth.

Simple to explain as in 'enjoyable to non-gamers'. Basically, should be explained within 5 minutes. The fewer rules and components, the better. By simple I do not mean 'simple to gamers' but 'simple to non-gamers'.

Lots of depth as in 'enjoyable to gamers', plenty of tactics or strategy (not necessarily both). Things to think about without causing paralysis.


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Lithuania
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You might want to look at Medici, which is very easy to explain, has few rules & components and just got a new reprint.

Despite being easy to teach and play, it has subtle depth. Best with 5 and 6.
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Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

Easy to understand, easy to play; but with different scoring goals and interaction between those scoring goals there's enough to keep gamers entertained as well.
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David B
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Reiner Knizia is the master of this type of game. He did "simple rules with lots of depth" better than anyone.

For 2 players, you cannot beat Schotten Totten. This game is also available under a different theme/title Battle Line. It is a card game incorporating concepts from rummy and poker. But there is also hand management, deduction, misdirecting your opponent, strategy in deciding which columns to sacrifice and which ones to prioritize, etc. A sublime game.

For 2 to 4 players, look at Samurai. It feels like a 2 dimensional version of Battle Line in a way.
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Chris
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Arboretum

The King Is Dead

King Chocolate

Hare & Tortoise

Chicago Express
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Karan R
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Go on a small board
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mister lee
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Imhotep has some good depth and is very easy to teach
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Martin
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I would say Carcassonne fits the bill quite nicely. With a large number of expansions to increase the depth as required.
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Kevin
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This question always reminds me of the time I watched 2 math phd's learn and play Hey, That's My Fish!. They picked it up quickly, but each move drove them nuts.
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Josh
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Can you give a bit more info? 2p or multi? Any particular themes good or bad?
 
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Mitch Willis
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Tak
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Court of the Medici (if you can find a copy; it's OOP)
+1 Battle Line
 
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pfctsqr wrote:
Reiner Knizia is the master of this type of game. He did "simple rules with lots of depth" better than anyone.

For 2 players, you cannot beat Schotten Totten. This game is also available under a different theme/title Battle Line.


We have this one and like it very much! Simple and challenging.

I've been thinking Concordia lately.

Quote:
I would say Carcassonne fits the bill quite nicely. With a large number of expansions to increase the depth as required.


This is the sort of game that does not appeal to gamers: too simple, even with expansions (too many expansions bog the game down). At least it doesn't appeal to me and I'm not even much of a gamer.

Quote:
Can you give a bit more info? 2p or multi? Any particular themes good or bad?


2 or 3 P for me (that's why I didn't purchase Medici).

Theme doesn't matter, as long as it doesn't repel women (no sci fi, not too much fantasy, no wargames...).

I stay away from mathematical games and boards with many components, like most economic games and worker placements.


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M M
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pfctsqr wrote:
Reiner Knizia is the master of this type of game. He did "simple rules with lots of depth" better than anyone.

This. Any number of his titles.
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Chris Smith
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+1 Clans
+1 Chicago Express

Those are the first two games that always come to mind when someone poses a similar question.
 
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Richie Freeman
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Kamisado
 
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Brian "Langalore"
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FooFan wrote:
I would say Carcassonne fits the bill quite nicely. With a large number of expansions to increase the depth as required.


The problem with Carc is the farm scoring. I agree with you on the tile-laying aspect but the scoring rules are a huge pain.

For my money, Animals on Board has a lot of depth for such a simple rule set.
Alternatively, my Santa sent me Battle Sheep off my wish list.

I don't know that either of these games have "depth" but they do have very good tactical decision-making opportunities.
 
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Shane Larsen
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Here are my favorites (+1 to any that have already been mentioned):

Battle Line - This is the king of simple-but-deep for two players only. It never gets old, and there are new tactics and strategies popping up in every game. Highly recommended.

American Rails - This is my medium-weight, railbuilder of choice. It's similar to Chicago Express, but adds an action-selection element that takes the game to the next level of enjoyment for me. Super simple, but the complex way that players interact and manipulate the game state is fascinating.

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King - I always find this game very tense and satisfying. Learning to accurately value each tile you draw is an ever-changing challenge. So many things can impact that part of the game, and you only have a few seconds to analyze it all. Then, when an opponent surprises you by either buying or not buying your tile, it leaves you either cheering out loud or groaning with pain for how well you predicted their behavior (and the monetary price you put to your prediction). It's really great.

Concordia - The cards are the rules. That's (nearly) it. But deciding how/when to play all those cards, and the heavy level of interaction between players makes this one much deeper than the rules would imply.

China/Web of Power - China is easier to get ahold of. And I think it's just as good. I can explain all the rules to this game in 1 minute. Granted, I usually give learners visual examples of each rule, to make sure they understand well. But even with that, it's less than 5 minutes. And the game plays really quickly too. I'd call it a super filler. But the decisions that happen in that short time frame are really tense. It's better with 3 players. With 5, you lose a little bit of control on the board. But still really good at all play counts.

Dominion - No need to elaborate here. It became an instant classic for many reasons. One of them was how easy the game system works. The depth comes in learning how to play each new set up of cards, and reacting to your opponents decisions.

Spyrium - An often overlooked game from the designer of Caylus. The rules are easy, but winning feels hard. High interaction with opponents. Highly recommended.

Hope this helps. Good luck and have fun!
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Biblios
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Four Tribes

+1 Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
+1 Concordia
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Im looking at:

Schotten totten for 2
Keltis card game or coloretto for 3+
Patchwork for 2
Cottage garden or cartagena for 3+
Ticket to ride for 3+
Broom service for 2+?
Ra for 3+
...
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Michael Deardeuff
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Kingdom Builder
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Sentinels of the Multiverse

Pretty simple to explain: select 3-5 heroes, 1 villain, 1 environnement.
Each player plays its turn, with a play, power, draw, and that's it.

And then proceed into keeping track of 1,000 effects

It's a deep one really.
 
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M M
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Sentinels is fiddly, not deep.
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Alexandre P.
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Russian Railroads ?
I have recently discovered Topoum and it could match: simple rules on how to place/move your moles but a lot of thinking on your moves as sometimes when you remove opponent's pieces, you help him to do better the next turn.
 
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Twixt
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Kat Demeanour
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Concordia springs to mind for me, so few rules but the game play might be too much for non gamers?
Kingdoms - great game, simple rules, lots of 'take-that' (and cool castles you get to play with!)
Guillotine - quick, simple, fun
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