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Subject: Games that "feel bigger then they are"? rss

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Fred Hill
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This is a bit of a strange question I guess, but I would like some tips on games that feel bigger then they are, both when it comes to physical size but mostly when it comes to game mechanics.

A prime example of what I am talking about is Star realms. It is a simple game mechanics-wise (and also size-wise) but still feels big.

What games do you feel have a bigger/more interesting feel then size/mechanic complexity actually provides and why? They dont have to be small at all, just feel bigger then they are. Bonus Points if the games are not card games (cards may well be included, but the board is a board) or party games but actually have a game board. 'Cause I like game boards.
 
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Paul S.
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Hey,

probably you mean what I call "big game in small box"? Something I myself do really like too.

I recommend:
Isle of Trains
The Builders: Middle Ages or, even better: The Builders: Antiquity
Citadels (at least the old version had a small box)
Meuterer
Tiefe Taschen
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Joe Salamone
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Targi comes to mind. It's probably my favorite 2-player (only) game. The game is physically small. The "board" is a card display (the outer edges are fixed, but the inner section changes throughout the game). The rule set is short and simple, but the game offers a bigger punch than you might expect. The final few turns can be very tense as you compete for the spaces you need to maximize your scoring.
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Jared Lock
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Akrotiri and Mottainai, of the games that I've played. They're 2 player games, but expandable with multiple sets.
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Fred Hill
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2578 wrote:
Hey,

probably you mean what I call "big game in small box"? Something I myself do really like too.


Thanks for the recommendations! As for your question, its a bit of yes and no actually. It is a bit about actual size, but mostly it is a feeling of choice, complexity and tactical depth that does not come really from the game itself being complex if you know what I mean?

In for instance Twilight Imperium, you have boatloads of tactical choices to make, there are many many different tactics and lots of things to learn and consider.

In Star realms, you have almost no resources to manage. The choices comes purely from the cards on the table and the ones your deck gives you. And yet it feels (to a certain extent) big, Epic, like choices really matter.

But in ordet to be able to feel bigger then they are, most of the games of this type tend to be small boxes indeed.
 
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dsco bee
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Excellent suggestions so far, this is a real sweet spot for me too, gaming-wise. I'd add the following to the list:

Condottiere
Battle Line
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

They offer a deep and engaging gameplay experience from fairly little in the way of components and mechanics. The Kosmos two-player series has a lot of games that fall into this category, including the aforementioned Targi (which is back in print this spring apparently by the way - it's currently like hen's teeth). Akrotiri is also fantastic if you can find a copy at a reasonable price.
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Reed Dawley
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Omen: A Reign of War
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Kolby Reddish
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The Bloody Inn and Spyrium

are two games that I think about, constantly, that fit your description.

Edit - I would also add Import / Export
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BG.EXE
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Acquire is my favorite for this. The game is more or less 3 rules - place a tile, resolve tile placement, draw a tile. The entire economy of the game is driven by how the players choose to react and how they choose to place their tiles, which makes the depth of the game immense.
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Fred Hill
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Awesome recommendations! There are quite a few of these that have slipped under my radar. Big thanks everyone, keep them coming!
 
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Harv Veerman
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Perhaps Raptor is something for you.
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Adrian Hill
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Tiny epic galaxies feels far bigger and is deeper than it looks. There's no board though but it's not a card game in the slightest. The cards make up the game board.

Tiny epic western is also a really cool game which feels far bigger and deeper than it looks.
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Robbert Vervuurt
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Clans of Caledonia. There's so much game in such a small box, it's ridiculous! AND I LOVE IT (just don't get it played...)
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Paul S.
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baldyr wrote:
2578 wrote:
Hey,

probably you mean what I call "big game in small box"? Something I myself do really like too.


As for your question, its a bit of yes and no actually. It is a bit about actual size, but mostly it is a feeling of choice, complexity and tactical depth that does not come really from the game itself being complex if you know what I mean?


I understand and I still stand by my recommendations. If you're interested in The Builders, then maybe just look at Antiquity. It has more choice in what is else basically the same game.
 
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Jeff Haynes
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I would say Harbour fits into this category.

its a small box and the game seems simple at first, but the different starting players and multitude of different buildings can really impact strategy and changes the games a lot from play to play.
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Francois LC
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preach1508 wrote:
I would say Harbour fits into this category.

its a small box and the game seems simple at first, but the different starting players and multitude of different buildings can really impact strategy and changes the games a lot from play to play.


I would say Harvest. The box is bigger than Harbour, but you have a good worker-placement game in a somewhat small package (with some neat innovation to the genre). And it's a harder game than people might think at first (especially with the "cartoony" art) as you really need to adapt yourself to the Action and Initiative cards, working in synergy with your character special powers to do a great score.
 
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Village Idiot
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+1 for Targi
+1 for Akrotiri
+1 for Mottainai
+1 for The Bloody Inn
+1 for Spyrium
+1 for Harvest (got ninja'd)

Also:
Minerva
Port Royal
Oh My Goods!
Traders of Osaka

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Jeff Troyan
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Id vote for Saint Petersburg for this one. All you do really is buy cards. Oh, but the tension and excruciating decisions!

Small board, small cards, small box. One of my favorites.
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Steve G.
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Race for the Galaxy is the first one that comes to mind; though it is card game, so maybe not what you want.

Tiny Epic Galaxies is another full-sized game in a little box, and has player boards at least.
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David Wilcox
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I think of Notre Dame that way. It seems and feels like there is more to it than there actually is.
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Georg Wolgast
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I'll try to respond to the part of the question related to a big game with simple rules. Here are some of my favourites with really simple rules/short rulebooks:
Concordia
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
Elysium
Five Tribes
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Pete K
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One I've been playing recently is Arboretum, which certainly seems to fit this category. It's a small card game, but you have to see how the different players' layouts take shape and plan according to what you feel like is in everybody's hands, versus the discard piles and draw decks. Simple, but not easy.
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Kolby Reddish
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pkufahl wrote:
One I've been playing recently is Arboretum, which certainly seems to fit this category. It's a small card game, but you have to see how the different players' layouts take shape and plan according to what you feel like is in everybody's hands, versus the discard piles and draw decks. Simple, but not easy.


Can't believe I forgot this one. Totally!
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Phillip Harpring
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So while most people here have gone the "small box big choices" route, I'm going to recommend some big box thematic games with simple choices.

I think the classic example here is Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) (though I prefer the Warhammer 40K retheme Relic). Your choices on any given turn are incredibly limited and you're constantly at the whims of any given die roll, but the setting and characters allow you to immerse yourself in the theme and create an epic adventure for each player, even if it frequently ends in epic failure.

Colt Express - This game is physically pretty big and impressive, and the 3D components and custom meeples definitely help sell you on the theme and feel of a train heist, but at it's core mechanics, it's a fairly simple action programming game.

Run, Fight, or Die! and its multitude of zombie miniatures make the player feel quite a bit more dread when situations get dire than if they had just been a pile of small tokens. It's a yahtzee-style dice game like King of Tokyo.

Las Vegas is a pretty straightforward dice rolling game with almost no theme, but has some nice tension due to the area control and ties lose everything mechanics.
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Kolby Reddish
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Emu Prime wrote:
So while most people here have gone the "small box big choices" route, I'm going to recommend some big box thematic games with simple choices.


Not that your recommendations aren't good for what you were going for, but people went the "small box big choices" route because that was what the OP asked for.
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