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Subject: A shorter game similar to Terra Mystica? rss

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Johan Sørensen
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I recently played Terra Mystica and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. One letdown for me, however, was the game length - the game stretched beyond three hours, and I like my games not much longer than 90 minutes. I don't know a lot of eurogames, so my frame of reference is very limited, but I've narrowed my criteria down to the following (apart from resembling Terra Mystica in general):

Beautiful visuals - I'm used to Ameritrash where component actually resemble what they are - the level in TM was sufficient for me

Engine building - I like to "upgrade", choose a direction among several different paths etc.

Variable player powers - this is always a plus for me

Theme - just some, it makes it easier for me to connect with the game

Area control - (not paramount)


Hope there is a game that fits the bill. Thanks
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Ian Kissell
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I always prefered Archipelago to TM (not super similar, but scratches the same itch for me). Much better visuals, and the short scenarios are closer to 90 minutes. However, it does not play well with 2 and only okay with 3, but if you have 4 then it would be worth a look. Not as much engine building, but a great feeling of building a little civ without a lot of negative player interaction.
 
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John Burt
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Terraforming Mars might work for you, but I have to point out that your first play of a heavy game like Terra Mystica is probably going to be much longer than it will be after you've played it a few times, so judging it now seems a bit unfair.
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Joel Oakley
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I think you should keep playing Terra Mystica! The game length should definitely not be 3 hours in general, even with 5 players. Experienced players could easily knock out a 4-player game in under 2 hours, but this may still be too long for you.

A possible alternative is Deus, which I recommend with some trepidation, not having played it myself. It seems pretty enough, has solid engine building that sort of evolve into variable player powers over the course of the game, and the theme seems like it should work for you.

Another possibility to appeal to your Ameritrash side is the recently released Anachrony. It's stunning on the table and definitely has engine building as you construct buildings and super projects. There are variable player powers and a solid theme as well! Unfortunately, it's likely going to run about 2 hours with 4 players (more likely 3 hours for the first couple of plays).

My absolute top pick would be ZhanGuo, which has some similarities to Deus in its mechanisms. It really ticks off each item you listed (though visuals are subjective I suppose, but I think it's on par with Terra Mystica). Most importantly, it has the best engine building aspect of any game I have played. My concern here is that it too will exceed your target 90 minute play time. Realistically, 4 players should finish the game in just under 2 hours once they have all played once or twice before.

Finally, as somewhat of a different recommendation, I going to suggest Glass Road. I cannot imagine any game of this ever exceeding 90 minutes, and most will be played in under 60 minutes! It has a solid engine building aspect but feels very different from the other recommendations I've mentioned.

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Derry Salewski
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You might like Deus. I really like that. I like TM too.

You'd probably like Age of Empires. It might go longer than 90 minutes with a higher player count.

Antiquity might tickle your pickle. Will be back in print in the fall.

Endeavor you might like.

I dunno, just going through the games I rank highly like I do TM that have aspects of what you like.
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AJ
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quill65 wrote:
Terraforming Mars might work for you, but I have to point out that your first play of a heavy game like Terra Mystica is probably going to be much longer than it will be after you've played it a few times, so judging it now seems a bit unfair.


+1 to this. We can play Terra Mystica in ~ an hour (4 players). Our first learning play prob took 3 hours.
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ajsoares wrote:


+1 to this. We can play Terra Mystica in ~ an hour (4 players). Our first learning play prob took 3 hours.



Sound newbie to me. Yesterday I finished a 5p Terra Mystica game in about 20 minutes (including set - up). We could finish it sooner, but on the third round , one played had to visit his doctor and we had to wait for him .

So OP do not worry, after a couple of games , the game time will drop to 3-4 minutes per player
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Germany
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Terra Mystica does get a lot faster with experience. Some of the examples here are perhaps overselling it (while it is possible, I guess that are groups who play Terra Mystica every week or even day). I still think if you don't play it every week, it will still take about 1-2 hours depending of number and experience of players, especially if you are still learning all the factions (who do need a different approach). In the beginning, it gets a lot faster with lesser players.

However, 90 minutes is very doable if every player has a bit experience.



 
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Kevin Garnica
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Scythe
 
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AJ Cooper
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Terraforming Mars is a great game, but is at least as long as Terra Mystica, so probably doesn't fit OP's request.

Agree that the best bet is to just get more proficient at Terra Mystica.
 
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Jez Dedman
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S0laris wrote:
ajsoares wrote:


+1 to this. We can play Terra Mystica in ~ an hour (4 players). Our first learning play prob took 3 hours.



Sound newbie to me. Yesterday I finished a 5p Terra Mystica game in about 20 minutes (including set - up). We could finish it sooner, but on the third round , one played had to visit his doctor and we had to wait for him .

So OP do not worry, after a couple of games , the game time will drop to 3-4 minutes per player


What?

Are you thinking of the correct game? Terra Mystica is not an overall 20 mins game, nor 3/4 mins per player game... perhaps you are missing a zero off all your numbers?
 
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AJ
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Slumpy wrote:
S0laris wrote:
ajsoares wrote:


+1 to this. We can play Terra Mystica in ~ an hour (4 players). Our first learning play prob took 3 hours.



Sound newbie to me. Yesterday I finished a 5p Terra Mystica game in about 20 minutes (including set - up). We could finish it sooner, but on the third round , one played had to visit his doctor and we had to wait for him .

So OP do not worry, after a couple of games , the game time will drop to 3-4 minutes per player


What?

Are you thinking of the correct game? Terra Mystica is not an overall 20 mins game, nor 3/4 mins per player game... perhaps you are missing a zero off all your numbers?


Think he's being sarcastic at me? But, I still stand by my hour. We've played together with the same group of four over 20x and while we haven't played for a while since we honestly overplayed (amazing game but mixing things up is necessary), when we do play we all have a certain setup task (so with four players efficiently setting up it's really quick)and play at least 3 games of it back to back. (Which I don't think is necessary to get to 1 hour - 1.5 hours realistically).
 
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Jez Dedman
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Ahh ok, makes sense. Though I can see how you could play it in an hour when streamlining and experienced enough. The issues I've had with playtime in the past has been with new players and AP, but otherwise it does run quite smoothly.
 
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Roger
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It might seem a strange one, but to me Scythe feels like Terra Mystica. It's a fab game and matches all your criteria, although not so short.
 
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Dee Wongsa
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51st State! There's no area control, but the cards are beautiful, it's dripping with theme, there's lots of little engines to build, and definitely has variable player powers. Games usually last about 1 to 2 hrs, depending on how many players.
 
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Christian Kløve
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I came in here to recommend Hansa Teutonica, but that only covers your need regarding Engine Building. It's not pretty. It doesn't have variable player powers. It's theme ... is ... there (maybe). It's got a little bit of area control.

It's a fantastic game though. Very interactive - you need to mess with your opponents to have a chance. I love it, and I'd recommend you take a look at it at least.
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ajsoares wrote:
... I still stand by my hour. We've played together with the same group of four over 20x and while we haven't played for a while since we honestly overplayed (amazing game but mixing things up is necessary), when we do play we all have a certain setup task (so with four players efficiently setting up it's really quick)and play at least 3 games of it back to back. (Which I don't think is necessary to get to 1 hour - 1.5 hours realistically).
I didn't think 60 minutes sounded normal at all and after reading this, I can confirm that nothing about how you play Terra Mystica is normal. I agree it's a good game and will be less than 3 hours once you've played more but I would still expect 2, especially with setup.
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Nate Edwards
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I also came to say Scythe... but I'm in agreement that TM shortens up with subsequent plays.
 
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Ben Wickens
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maybe The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire - great components, very quick playing time and there is engine building elements. No real area control though.

Or go for Blood Rage great minis and euro elements (drafting, victory point salad, tech trees of sorts etc) and area control. Inis is even more in the area control way and is pretty and plays quicker than TM although your not building tech trees, does have area control....Or Catan - the game that inspired TM in the first place
 
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Jeff Connell
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benme wrote:
maybe The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire - great components, very quick playing time and there is engine building elements. No real area control though.

Or go for Blood Rage great minis and euro elements (drafting, victory point salad, tech trees of sorts etc) and area control. Inis is even more in the area control way and is pretty and plays quicker than TM although your not building tech trees, does have area control....Or Catan - the game that inspired TM in the first place


So Catan inspired TM because they use hex tiles with different types of terrain? That's the only similarity, and I would venture to guess it's not inspired by Catan at all.
 
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Carl Frodge
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My only question would be...why does the length bother you, if you thoroughly enjoy the experience?

The only game that really feels similar to Terra Mystica to me is Eclipse, but that's a longer game.

I agree that some of the games others have mentioned, that I've played, are good games, but I wouldn't say any are similar to TM.
 
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Randolph Bookman
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The first light version of Terra Mystica I think of is Kingdom builder. It's kind of like Terra Mystica's younger not as pretty sister.
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Kasper Lauest
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starfailure wrote:
I also came to say Scythe... but I'm in agreement that TM shortens up with subsequent plays.

Agree on both counts!
 
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shawn
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I recommend Hansa Teutonica. my game group loves this one. the selective unlocking of your skill tree leads to variable player powers. The blocking of occupied spaces on the board almost necessitates variable strategies. There are many different strategies to win. no two games are ever the same for us. and we have knocked this one out in 20 minutes, (although that was unusual).

we have probably played this 20 or 30 time sin the last 2-3 years without any need to break open the expansions. I would imagine it would be easy to get your hands on it.

Maybe Glen More as well. you build a bit of a development tableau, but with a much shorter play time, not to mention it comes in a much smaller, lighter box.
 
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