Florian Flumontanus
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Hello everyone,

I'm looking for a new strategy-war-boardgame and can't decide which one to get.
Mechanics and games I like:
- area control and building (I love Cyclades)
- intensive fights with different units (Ikusa/Axis and Allies)
- different races that play differently but are equal somehow. And completing the same objective (love Battlelore but really hate War of the Ring)
- High interaction and alliances (Diplomacy)

I really don't like victory points especially with a random timer like in Blood Rage. It's okay to win the game by reaching a certain number of points (Battlelore), but just quiting the game after 3 rounds and then count the points feels stupid for me.
I don't mind a little downtime or rolling dice. The rules may be complex but not to hard, playing a lot with casual gamers also with different numbers (Descent, Battleore were just right)
So after these thoughts, I came up with following games but had some drawbacks:
- Forbidden Stars (Downtime?)
- Runewars (less war but heroes, artificially attached; combat system?)
- Hyperborea (low interaction?)
- Eclipse (victory points?)
- Scythe (victory points?)
- GoT Board Game (just good with 6 players)

Would be great, if you could help me decide on this one
Oh and if you have better suggestions, please let me know!
 
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JH
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I can't speak to all of these, but:

Forbidden Stars: Didn't find downtime significant. Most things happen in turn; if your moves are covered by other players' tiles you might have to wait a bit then. Battles take a little while but not too long.

Runewars: I think the heroes get a bad rap, and I like the combat card mechanics pretty well, especially with the expansion. One of my favorite games.

GoT: It plays just fine with fewer than six, but I'd recommend at least four.

Eclipse: Yeah, it has victory points. But several ways to get them, at least (taking territory, fighting, diplomacy, discoveries, etc.) But it has area control and building, intensive fights (with customizable ships), different races and high interaction. Game ends at nine rounds, so there'll tend to be a points push late in the game.
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Adelin Dumitru
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Why not Kemet?

Sure, you win by scoring 8 or 10 victory points, depending on your preference. But those numbers have been chosen so that games would not be too short or too long. Once you learn how to play it, it will go so quick that you may very well have 12 or 14-victory points games if you agree on this at the beginning. Furthermore, there are several ways to score points (raising pyramids, buying tiles, winning battles, holding onto temples).

Regarding your other likes:
- it's a brilliant area control game
- you build stuff (pyramids) and it has a nice tech three
- you begin a very symmetrical game but as the game progresses it will become very asymmetrical; however, each player has the same opportunity to get any tile she wants, so it won't feel like anyone is disadvantaged;
- the fights are very intense;
- high levels of interaction.

Furthermore, the game scales really well, from 2 to 5.

Oh, and it has some really cool miniatures too.

Might be worth taking a look at it.
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Mark Jackson
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Based on your list definitely don't get scythe. It's 9/10 an efficiency euro with a light dusting of combat/area control for spice.
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Florian Flumontanus
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AdelinDumitru wrote:
Why not Kemet?


Played Kemet ones, but it somehow didn't apply to me. Maybe I'm not into the Egyptian setting; I found it somehow too 'sterile', but maybe one game wasn't enough to judge.
I have to admit, that I like the GoT Show, the Wahrammer setting and fantasy in general, so maybe that's why these games were in my mind ;-)
 
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Jim Cavallari
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Out of the games you've listed, I think the best choice, based upon your thread, would be Runewars. I would also consider getting the expansion for it. I believe it adds more to the hero mechanism of the game.
 
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Stay away from Scythe and Hyperborea. Both are mostly euro/efficiency games with little diplomacy or combat. (For the record, I rather like Hyperborea and think Scythe is ok. They just don't fit your requirements.)

For my money, it sounds like GoT Board Game is the best fit - but I agree that you need at least 4. The A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) – A Feast for Crows expansion looks like a nice addition, although I've never actually used it.

Although I haven't played Forbidden Stars, I have experience with the game that it is based on (StarCraft) and think that's also a good option worth considering.
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Tomáš Sládek
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If you like the look of Forbidden Stars, get it ASAP, because it may never be available again, except at exorbitant prices on ebay. I deeply regret the day I could have bought Chaos in the old world and didn't, just because I wasn't 100% sure. Now it sells for silly prices.

Beside the availability point, I think Forbidden Stars is the best fit as well.

All of the others are great games, don't get me wrong, but FS is all about the strategy and constant combat - and unlike Kemet or Scythe, the combat itself is insteresting. Didn't find downtiem an issue, but I suppose that depends on how other players are invested in fights that are not their immediate business.
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haedrian apellon
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cant say for all those titles since i havent played all , but i really like Game of thrones the Boardgame - it is indeed better with 6 players but some tweeked map exists out there to help balance if less than that.. also its long in the begining because its alot of small mecanisms , but honnestly if everyone knows how to play you can go most the resolving action together and it goes much quicker .... that said, it is a game i only play 2-3 times every year or so with game of thrones fans and friends wich we play when the season starts - so i m due .. it s also better with same group , cause it gets annoying to re explain everything , but thats true for all games that are fairly heavy... anyway , good luck finding your pick , you should just play them in my opinion .. i personally didnt dig eclipse that much tho i thought it was well made..
 
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So So
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Clockwork Wars might fit your request. All units are the same however (kinda). Very high interaction with unique factions. Closest to Cyclades.

Kemet is excellent straight up fighting game. Victory points are just a way to make it not player elimination. This is the battle version of Cyclades.

Quantum may fit, but less war like.
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Mark Siford
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Scythe is definitely not going to work. It is a big time euro with a little area control/combat.

Eclipse is actually a VP game. Yes it does have elements of the 4X but again having played it I found it to be very Euro, more like a Space Taxes game with a little research/modding ships. You can play games of it and not fight anyone except the neutral aliens and the alliance system is weak in terms of promoting diplomacy and negotiation. Combat is not that exciting IMHO just a lot of dice rolling.

Forbidden Stars is highly recommended. It has all the elements on your list. Combat is tactical and strategic, the asymmetric factions are in the telephone booth trying to take areas and objectives from each other, you team up to bash the leader while trying to win. Cannot recommend it enough. It is better with 3 than 4 purely due to length.

Runewars might also work but I have only seen it played. Looks like a better Eclipse (factions more asymmetric, combat more interesting, less Euro in terms of mechanics) from my point of view.

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Keith czop
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In my humble opinion it depends on player count. With 3 we love Forbidden stars. I personally believe this to be the best battle system in board gaming. We also love Hyperborea but its not what the box makes the game out to be. It's a great game however, more euro like that the others. If you have 4/5 players check out Kemet as it's wonderfull.
 
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Darren Kisgen
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You might want to check out Mare Nostrum: Empires.
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Matt Brown
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
GoT: It plays just fine with fewer than six, but I'd recommend at least four.


It is fine with 4 if you are using the expansion. 5 is wonky as there is an imbalance with the houses. Definitely a 4 or 6 player game. With 5, you have better options.
 
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Gary G
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Spheres of Influence: Struggle for Global Supremacy has everything you need. Best DOAM experience I've ever had. It plays short too. Most I've had was 10 players and barely got to 3 hours.
 
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Mike Smith
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+WAAARGH!!! For FS your wants. Tight combat, objectives requiring combat, no real benefit to making alliances, etc. The others listed are good or great games in their own right, but does not check off all the boxes you have. The biggest downfall to FS is just teaching it to new players IMO.

You could also look at Cthulhu Wars, but that is super spendy. It does have a fairly quick play time though if you have experienced gamers in your group. We finished a learning game a couple weeks ago with 6 players in 2 hours, whereas a game of Forbidden Stars will take two hours for two players.
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Michael Dillenbeck
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Not exactly what you are looking for, but I want to turn your head towards a different style of game that might be of interest to you.

Currently in print and obtainable is Pax Renaissance, but Pax Pamir is probably a better fit (but a bit more costly).

These are Sierra Madre Games designs for small to medium groups (2-4 and 2-5 respectively). Both use cards to make a small map (2 x 5 and 2 x 3 respectively) and to build up a tableau "map" in front of the player themselves. Players have the pieces they control (cubes) and the pieces of non-player factions to manipulate (chess pieces representing nobles, fortresses, pirates and cylinders representing the Afghan nationalists plus the British and Russian empires respectively).

What do they do differently? In Pax Pamir you are trying to be the most loyal to a faction that you help achieve victory, and there are one of 4 victory cards that is active at any time. With 3 or less players, the game may be only a battle between empires and their loyalists - but with 4+ players at least one pair of players will support the same faction and thus battle for the greatest amount of loyalty. With Pax Renaissance, comet cards come out and let the person who triggers it activate one of 4 victory types. You have a lot more going on in this game as you become Suzerain to nations, engage in conquest and gain vassal nations, use marriages to get access to nations, flip between monarchies or republics, flip between medieval governments and theocracies, manipulate religion, try to be economically dominant, and so much more... it is a much meatier game but Pax Pamir is really eloquent.

I also recommend these games because they play surprisingly fast (1-2 hours typically), impressive as his games tend to be a bit longer. Pax Pamir was the first with clean graphics design that make the game flow incredibly well, and Pax Renaissance is only a little harder (due to much more going on). Both benefit with the expansions that have been released, one makes Pax Renaissance's Eastern Europe more random and varied between games while the other adds Pax Porfiriana elements to Pax Pamir - and adds unique powers based on territories your tribes control.

I'd say look at some videos and/or look for someone who might own it and is willing to let to sit in on a couple of games.

-----------------------------------------------

Another game title that might fit in better is Inis- I haven't played it, but from the playthroughs I watched it might have a lot of elements you like.
 
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Florian Flumontanus
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Thanks first of all for the encouraging and detailed infos!
So I ended up buying Forbidden Stars AND (Couldn't resist) Runewars. The number of players, the thematic background and the focus on conflict convinced me.
Hope they turn out as great as I hope them to be
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Dr. Jason L. Garner
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You can win a game of Scythe and actually not win a single combat. Difficult, improbable, but possible. Still, its one of my favorite games.
 
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Flow25 wrote:
Thanks first of all for the encouraging and detailed infos!
So I ended up buying Forbidden Stars AND (Couldn't resist) Runewars. The number of players, the thematic background and the focus on conflict convinced me.
Hope they turn out as great as I hope them to be


Sound like good choices!

I enjoyed Runewars, but felt like it's one of those games where posturing is more important than actually fighting. By the time factions really get into a spot where they can rumble, the game is usually about to end. Still a fun ride though.

Post in the thread again after you've played, and let us know your thoughts and impressions of these games.
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Tomáš Sládek
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oneiric wrote:
Flow25 wrote:
Thanks first of all for the encouraging and detailed infos!
So I ended up buying Forbidden Stars AND (Couldn't resist) Runewars. The number of players, the thematic background and the focus on conflict convinced me.
Hope they turn out as great as I hope them to be


Sound like good choices!

I enjoyed Runewars, but felt like it's one of those games where posturing is more important than actually fighting. By the time factions really get into a spot where they can rumble, the game is usually about to end. Still a fun ride though.

Post in the thread again after you've played, and let us know your thoughts and impressions of these games.


Yep Runewars is totally the game where the buildup is huge and then one or two battles can swing the game. But it might not work that way for you - depends on the players.

Forbidden Stars is a nice contrast in that you don't care much about infrastructure, just beating up the other guy asap
 
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Florian Flumontanus
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So quick update, if you guys are still interested:
Played Runewars couple of times. Two 1vs1 games with my girlfriend and one 3 player match. The manual was well written with many examples and the really good bgg community helped on uncertain subjects.
After reading the manual and understanding the rules, I actually wasn't really sure what to do and how to aquire dragonrunes honestly; but after the first "year" played, everything became more and more clear. The games plays quite good, with a lot of interaction and fights; though war is not mandatory, it kind of drags you there... and I liked that very much. Also the factions feel different because of the different unit types and starting influence points. So that were/are things, I was really searching for, and so the games surpassed my exspecations. But the best thing, which I never had before, was the experience of "epicness". This game really feels like an epic war. The planing of a year, making a long term strategy etc. really blow my mind. Also the heroes/questing didn't feel attached at all. They more likely felt like "special agents", scouting runes. Also the fate deck wasn't as bad as I thought. Sure, it still prefer dice over drawing cards (I don't count cards, so the strategy aspect here wasn't interesting for me) - but still it was fun.
So overall, great experience and no regrets at all!
Though, I think a WARCRAFT 3 Theme (Humans, Undead, Nightelves and Orcs would have suited perfectly, but probably wasn't in the licences budget ;-) )
Next up is Forbidden Stars - didn't start with both at the same time.
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JH
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FFG actually had a licensed Warcraft game some years ago, along with their other ones. They lost the Blizzard licenses a while ago and have been retheming some of that stuff (like Starcraft to Forbidden Stars) since. I'm glad they kept Runewars in their own IP. Don't have to worry about that sort of thing this way.
 
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Joey Larsen
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Cthulhu Wars

Must have. Most different yet balanced factions I've ever seen.
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