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Subject: Need a fun heavy euro recommendation. rss

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Enon Sci
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Definition time: Heavy Euro -> see weight class examples below. Fun --> probably a corollary with "deepest engine builder," but could also include mini-personal puzzle interactions like Trajan's mancala.

Since the question is in the title, let me give you a little background:

I have a lot of games. Perhaps not as many as some, but my collection has been steadily growing since 2004. Nevertheless, I've gotten into the habit of purchasing games in bursts, generally once or twice a year, and it always begins with an itch I need scratched.

This cycle, that itch has been a very euro styled brain tickler.

It started with an impulse to add Istanbul into an order, a very light (perhaps even "gateway") euro to compliment some christmas purchases. This has snowballed into realizing I need something that scratches a deeper itch, something no lighter than Aquasphere (which I own and have played once in a year), and no heavier than Kanban (which I have never played).

My short list of titles under consideration are:

Vinhos Deluxe Edition
Lisboa
The Gallerist
Madeira
Panamax
Nippon
Kanban: Driver's Edition

Problem is (in order from above):

1. Vinhos: I'm awaiting Viticulture + Tuscany (Essentials). I know the gameplay is very different, but the theme is a stretch for personal interest in the first place -- not sure I need two wine merchant games in my collection. Plus, despite the uniform praise, Vinhos looks really really dry.

2. Lisboa: Not out till... June?

3. Gallerist: OOP (or out of stock in the USA).

4. Madeira: OOP.

5. Panamax: Plays crappy with 2, it seems. Included solely to be complete.

6. Nippon: You know... I'm not sure about this. Thematically it resonates the best, but I'm obviously leaning more to a Vital experience (have yet to play any of his games). There is another game called ZhanGuo which I'm only now realizing I was confusing for Nippon (and I heard ZhanGuo was a bit inelegant).

7. Kanban: I hate cars. Theme is worse for me than Vinhos.

Despite all of this chatter, I'm not really asking which of these is better. I'm posting this because I genuinely am unsure whether I've explored all the options -- are there other games of this weight that I should be considering?

Currently Trajan is the heaviest euro that hits my table regularly, and perhaps Shogun is the heaviest in my collection (but never comes out). That said, we're all eager to delve deeper.

p.s. Vinhos is the closest to a purchase. Nippon I'm going to reappraise now.
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Joel Oakley
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ZhanGuo inelegant? I wholeheartedly disagree! In my opinion, it is by far more elegant than all of the games you listed (most of which I have played and love). If you are looking for a "deep engine builder," I think you really should be considering it.

Also, you might check out Bruxelles 1893, which just got a reprint. I've never played it, but it is high on my wishlist.

Others to consider are Alexander Pfister's heavier games: Mombasa and Great Western Trail.
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Otherworldly Santa
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ZhanGuo is fantastic in its simplicity that still provides agonizing decisions.

I liked Mombasa ok, but some of the mechanics seemed thrown in (the book track).

The others I have not played.
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George Nebesnik
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Two games I would highly recommend. Both games are available and priced reasonably

New Amsterdam
Doesn't get a big heavy rating but this game has a ton going on. The auctions are great and using your limited actions every round to maximize what you can do is very challenging. I have played this game a ton and have seen many different strategies win. I love heavy games. I consider this game heavy.

Yedo
Another game I can't say enough good things about. You like Lords of Waterdeep this kind of touches that same thing but is much heavier.
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Daily Grind
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My current favorite heavies are Trickerion: Legends of Illusion and Alchemists.
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Adrian Hague
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Trickerion: Legends of Illusion (plus Trickerion: Dahlgaard's Gifts). Beautiful looking game with a unique theme. Deffo in the 'heavy' category (esp. with the expansion), with lots of fun combo's for 'engine optimisation'. Also a great 'puzzle' aspect as Performers jockey for position on the 'performance' card (read: 'playbill')

Edit: Ninja'd by Mr Grind!
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Kai B
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Take a look at:

- Through the Ages
or
- Great Western Trail
 
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Andrew Helton
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Another vote for Trickerion! It's a fairly heavy euro with a brilliantly realized theme. Immersive without being Ameri-trashy.
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Drake Coker
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My wife and I are really enjoying Mombasa
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Kolby Reddish
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Take a look at The Colonists.
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Kevin Garnica
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+1 Bruxelles 2893. Personally, I call it my "everything but the kitchen sink" game.
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pacman88k wrote:
+1 Bruxelles 1893. Personally, I call it my "everything but the kitchen sink" game.


So, you're saying there's room for an expansion? whistle

~V
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Drew Gormley
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Panamax is great with two players, FYI.

Nippon is extremely light compared to the other games into which you're looking.

Do you own Dungeon Lords/Dungeon Petz? If not, look that way, too. Talk about personal puzzle interactions..
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Brett McLay
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Themes & mechanics vary widely, but you will find heaviness:

Argent: The Consortium
Troyes
Solarius Mission

Good luck exploring! ~
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Andrew Meadow
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I would completely suggest Signorie. Nice engine building, a lot of options, pretty deep.
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Drew Gormley
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Anarchosyn wrote:
Definition time: Heavy Euro -> see weight class examples below. Fun --> probably a corollary with "deepest engine builder," but could also include mini-personal puzzle interactions like Trajan's mancala.

Since the question is in the title, let me give you a little background:

I have a lot of games. Perhaps not as many as some, but my collection has been steadily growing since 2004. Nevertheless, I've gotten into the habit of purchasing games in bursts, generally once or twice a year, and it always begins with an itch I need scratched.

This cycle, that itch has been a very euro styled brain tickler.

It started with an impulse to add Istanbul into an order, a very light (perhaps even "gateway") euro to compliment some christmas purchases. This has snowballed into realizing I need something that scratches a deeper itch, something no lighter than Aquasphere (which I own and have played once in a year), and no heavier than Kanban (which I have never played).

My short list of titles under consideration are:

Vinhos Deluxe Edition
Lisboa
The Gallerist
Madeira
Panamax
Nippon
Kanban: Driver's Edition

Problem is (in order from above):

1. Vinhos: I'm awaiting Viticulture + Tuscany (Essentials). I know the gameplay is very different, but the theme is a stretch for personal interest in the first place -- not sure I need two wine merchant games in my collection. Plus, despite the uniform praise, Vinhos looks really really dry.

2. Lisboa: Not out till... June?

3. Gallerist: OOP (or out of stock in the USA).

4. Madeira: OOP.

5. Panamax: Plays crappy with 2, it seems. Included solely to be complete.

6. Nippon: You know... I'm not sure about this. Thematically it resonates the best, but I'm obviously leaning more to a Vital experience (have yet to play any of his games). There is another game called ZhanGuo which I'm only now realizing I was confusing for Nippon (and I heard ZhanGuo was a bit inelegant).

7. Kanban: I hate cars. Theme is worse for me than Vinhos.

Despite all of this chatter, I'm not really asking which of these is better. I'm posting this because I genuinely am unsure whether I've explored all the options -- are there other games of this weight that I should be considering?

Currently Trajan is the heaviest euro that hits my table regularly, and perhaps Shogun is the heaviest in my collection (but never comes out). That said, we're all eager to delve deeper.

p.s. Vinhos is the closest to a purchase. Nippon I'm going to reappraise now.


There are plenty of euro games that you aren't considering. As I suggested above, Vlaada's games (Dungeon Lords and Dungeon Petz). Alban's Tramways, Clinic, Small City, and Small World. Arkwright, Russian Railroads, Solarius Mission, Food Chain Magnate, The Great Zimbabwe, T'zolkin: The Mayan Calendar, Luna (heavier than Trajan, certainly), CO2, Lignum, etc.

With all of that said, Lisboa and the Gallerist are definitively heavier than Kanban. Many would argue the same of Madeira. So if Kanban is truly your cutoff, then you may want to reconsider the genre into which you're looking, and look more into a medium/medium-heavy category.
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Enon Sci
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bchlax944 wrote:
Panamax is great with two players, FYI.

Nippon is extremely light compared to the other games into which you're looking.



Really? The BGG weight isn't that dissimilar between these. Nippon is 3.75, which is admittedly the lowest in the list, but not too dissimilar to Panamax or Vinhos.

You're the first person I've seen say Panamax was great with 2. That said, I'll reappraise the game on your word (i.e. thanks!).
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Enon Sci
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bchlax944 wrote:

There are plenty of euro games that you aren't considering. As I suggested above, Vlaada's games (Dungeon Lords and Dungeon Petz). Alban's Tramways, Clinic, Small City, and Small World. Arkwright, Russian Railroads, Solarius Mission, Food Chain Magnate, The Great Zimbabwe, T'zolkin: The Mayan Calendar, Luna (heavier than Trajan, certainly), CO2, Lignum, etc.


Many of those are far lighter than I'm aiming (Small World, etc).

Quote:

With all of that said, Lisboa and the Gallerist are definitively heavier than Kanban. Many would argue the same of Madeira. So if Kanban is truly your cutoff, then you may want to reconsider the genre into which you're looking, and look more into a medium/medium-heavy category.


Lisboa and Gallerist are rated with a lower complexity weight than Kanban, and the designer's opinion differs here as well.
 
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Shane Larsen
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It's funny, as I was reading the top part of your OP, I was thinking, He should probably consider ZhanGuo. Then you mentioned it.

+1 ZhanGuo - Of the three What's Your Game? titles I have (this, Madeira, and Railroad Revolution), this is the one that leaves me with the biggest hankering to play more. It's a tableau builder at its core, but there's so much more happening beyond the relatively simple actions players have. I wouldn't say it's inelegant at all. I might call it ... ambiguous, on your first play because it's a bit challenging how you're trying to connect your early actions to the ultimate scoring objectives, but it's very satisfying once you finally get there.

Great Western Trail - This is my personal hotness game right now. Some people have said it doesn't play well with 2, but I disagree. It's different with 2, but still very good, IMO. There's a lot of game to explore here.

Madeira is probably the heaviest game on your list. I would even say it's slightly heavier than Kanban. But not so much heavier that I wouldn't consider it. Additionally, it is a really, really great game. Challenging and gear grinding all the way. The way the dice are used is unique for sure.

Being that it's my favorite game, I would say Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, but that is definitely heavier than Kanban.

As for the Lacerda titles, Kanban is still my favorite. It just flows better than the others. The Gallerist in particular has those darn bump-out actions that are like a thousand speed bumps in the flow of play. Still a good game. Just something that rubbed me wrong.

Others you should consider:

Troyes - This is the best dice-allocation game available. It's super smart and rewards tricky play. It's also highly interactive and tense. The satisfaction I get from pulling off a combo-licious turn is as good as mid-heavy Euro gaming gets.

Grand Austria Hotel - Another dice-manipulation game. I really like them for how they grind the mental gears. GAH is at its best with 2 players. Downtime can be an issue with 4 players.

Railroad Revolution - This is from the same designer duo as ZhanGuo. In ways, it's similar. You get a very basic action as your turn. You choose one of 4 actions plainly laid out on your player board. But...the complexity comes in that you have 5 different colored workers you can use to activate those actions, each of them gives you a slightly different bonus/benefit depending on the color of meeple you use to activate it. It's a really simple-yet-deep design.

Hope this helps. Good luck and have fun!
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Shane Larsen
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Anarchosyn wrote:
Lisboa and Gallerist are rated with a lower complexity weight than Kanban, and the designer's opinion differs here as well.

I obviously haven't played Lisboa, but I have played the other two. I found The Gallerist to be considerably heavier than Kanban. But I seem to recall when The Gallerist was nearing its original release, the hype was that is was lighter than his other games. That was all wrong. So, I would be cautious of the same kind of hype for the upcoming Lisboa.

The only thing very tricky about Kanban is the scoring. All you have to do is slow down a bit to explain that, the rest is all very intuitive.
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thedacker wrote:
Anarchosyn wrote:
Lisboa and Gallerist are rated with a lower complexity weight than Kanban, and the designer's opinion differs here as well.

I obviously haven't played Lisboa, but I have played the other two. I found The Gallerist to be considerably heavier than Kanban.

The only thing very tricky about Kanban is the scoring. All you have to do is slow down a bit to explain that, the rest is all very intuitive.


Interesting. I found Kanban to be way more difficult to grok, so much so that we stopped our first game and tried again the next day (I was still a bit confused, but we played to completion).

The Gallerist is heavy (less than Kanban IMO), but the gameplay is really intuitive, and the rulebook is one of the best out there, hands down.
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I have and/or played all of the Euros you mention in the OP. I play 95% of my games 2p, with some small forays into solo. Similar weight Euros that we enjoyed:

+1 Trickerion: Legends of Illusion with Trickerion: Dahlgaard's Gifts
+1 Argent: The Consortium... Argent: Mancers of the University optionally adds a ridiculous level of replayability with multiple sets of scenarios
+1 Food Chain Magnate

Comments about your picks
1. Vinhos - Viticulture feels thematically different for us, since it's more about growing grapes and actually making the wine. Vinhos is about the economics of selling/exporting it and making your wine well known, while dealing with the consequences of varying levels of wine quality year to year. In short, Viticulture is more horticulture based, while Vinhos is more economy based. The square rondel in Vinhos isn't as deep as the Trajan mancala mechanism, but it does serve as its own mini-personal puzzle.

7. Kanban - As much as I love Kanban, I wouldn't recommend it for you. The theme is fully integrated into the game. You're producing cars and doing design/research/testing on car parts. That said, Kanban is the game that requires me to think the furthest ahead and is the most demanding of Larceda's titles. You must constantly plan around the movements of Sandra (who punishes/rewards you every round for specific goals). Every action also has the potential to end the game sooner and/or open up actions that would benefit other players. To me, this makes it the deepest.
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thedacker wrote:
It's funny, as I was reading the top part of your OP, I was thinking, He should probably consider ZhanGuo. Then you mentioned it.


Thanks for the recommendations, Shane.

Troyes is one of my all time favorites, and I eagerly await the Lady's expansion to come (slowly, oh so slowly) back into print.

Similarly, I pondered Grand Austria Hotel yesterday briefly, but your commentary has given me pause to reconsider (I mean, if you like Troyes... ).

Question: Do you have an opinion on Vinhos? Of the Lacerda titles I listed, it is the closest to being purchased, but I might just hold out for the CO2 second edition to get my Lacerda fix.
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Drew Gormley
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Anarchosyn wrote:
bchlax944 wrote:

There are plenty of euro games that you aren't considering. As I suggested above, Vlaada's games (Dungeon Lords and Dungeon Petz). Alban's Tramways, Clinic, Small City, and Small World. Arkwright, Russian Railroads, Solarius Mission, Food Chain Magnate, The Great Zimbabwe, T'zolkin: The Mayan Calendar, Luna (heavier than Trajan, certainly), CO2, Lignum, etc.


Many of those are far lighter than I'm aiming (Small World, etc).

Quote:

With all of that said, Lisboa and the Gallerist are definitively heavier than Kanban. Many would argue the same of Madeira. So if Kanban is truly your cutoff, then you may want to reconsider the genre into which you're looking, and look more into a medium/medium-heavy category.


Lisboa and Gallerist are rated with a lower complexity weight than Kanban, and the designer's opinion differs here as well.


Small world was supposed to read Town Center, but I got my words mixed up with the previous "small" :-). I'm surprised at your assessment, as 90% of the games I mentioned (those which you've said are lighter than you're looking into) are definitely more complex and heavier than Kanban.

I think BGG users often rate weight based on accessibility.
The rules to Kanaban were not friendly, and it made getting through a bit more difficult. I think this drives up complexity in the mind of folks.

for what its worth: Kanban is complex, but not difficult or overly heavy, in my eyes. Once you learn all of the "stations", it's a breeze. We play with 2 in an hour tops. Humbly, it seems like you're putting too much stock in the BGG weight. BGG says Kanban is notably more heavy than Great Zimbabwe and even heavier than Roads and Boats. These statements couldn't be further from the truth. I would really encourage you to broaden your search patterns here, as I think you'll find that almost everything I mentioned is more complex, and more strategically rewarding (i.e., deeper) than Kanban on it's best day.

I've only played KanBan 8 times, so maybe I've missed something.
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Drew Gormley
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Anarchosyn wrote:
bchlax944 wrote:
Panamax is great with two players, FYI.

Nippon is extremely light compared to the other games into which you're looking.



Really? The BGG weight isn't that dissimilar between these. Nippon is 3.75, which is admittedly the lowest in the list, but not too dissimilar to Panamax or Vinhos.

You're the first person I've seen say Panamax was great with 2. That said, I'll reappraise the game on your word (i.e. thanks!).


Sorry for the double post, but wanted to respond directly to this.
Lots of folks will confuse something being "good with" with being "best at". For instance, Goa is best with 4. I will only play Goa with exactly 4. Why? not because it's bad with three (it isn't), but because I have games that are better at three than Goa is at three, especially knowing what Goa can be at 4.

The VAST majority (over 70% of ~3700) of my plays are with two players. So when I say Panamax is good with two, I mean "it's good with two compared to all other games that I've played at two players". Other folks might be saying, "It's way better with 4" (something I couldn't speak to, as I've never played with 4), "so don't bother playing it with 2".

Or, alternatively, they may just be wrong about Panamax, and think it's bad with 2 .
 
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