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Subject: Recommendations for Balanced Games rss

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Chris S

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Hello,

I'm a fan of board games. First-time thread poster. Also, please don't judge me by my collection which hasn't been fully updated. I was introduced to boardgaming several years ago.

I need your collective knowledge to help me seek games that are relatively balanced (I know not everything can be perfectly balanced) and with the following factors:
1) Balance can slightly be towards strategy or luck.
2) Makes you feel that most decisions you make has some of reward or consequence. Not where it always feels like you are never going to win, always feeling stressed, or where you always feel like you are making the wrong decision. I do like traitor-type games, the feeling of being a traitor is generally not a good feeling if you are not used it.
3) There are other strategies to win a game (I know there is term called metagaming), where there is always a particular strategy that usually wins, if you can list a game that does NOT lend itself to metagaming, then that is awesome.
4) Makes you feel involved most of the time, if possible (I know there may be down-time with turn-based games)
5) Replayability
6) Scalability (can play well with a few players to many players. If there are certain games that you mention are worth having and can only play well with a certain player limit then please list it)
7) Rules/Rulebook, not overly complicated but is clear and not a lot of ambiguity (I understand it might be more complex with heavier games)
8) Last but not least, it is fun.

Also, please list games than can bring non-gamers, casual, and hardcore gamers to the same game. Mind you, I have party games, such as Codenames, Incan Gold, One night ultimate werewolf, and other party games that can bring these types of people together, but not so much with the slightly heavier side of strategy games. I heard about the more recent big games such as rising sun or blood rage, but I don't know how balanced they are especially at retail level versus Kickstarter promo's that may add-on to gameplay.

What types of games? Well, more strategy games with theme (or other categories). Let's throw out abstract games for now.
Player count: 2 to however many the game can go up to.

You can list games like this (or whatever nicer format you may have).
Small and light:
Medium and light:
Heavy (hopefully 2 hours or less, don't have all the time in the world to play games anymore):

Overall, if you are able read through this jumbled message of mine, I thank you for the time and effort you brought to answering this thread.

-Edit: I just realized there is a recommendation's section in the forums...sorry for being dumb about it. Can a mod move my thread to the appropriate area? If that is possible. Sorry about that.
 
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Posthumous Jones
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Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition) is a game that covers your bases, and one I've played with newcomers to the hobby and veterans alike, with success. It's got area control, some randomness with card draws and simultaneous action selection for that hint of social deduction. its a pretty stellar game.
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Seriously, turn off Facebook. You'll be happier.
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    The game you're looking for is called Shangri-La and it hasn't been invented yet. You're more or less listing the holy features of the perfect game, and there's a couple of drawbacks with the request.

    The first is that it's more or less impossible to create such a game, because some of the features you're asking for conflict with others. That's a fundamental problem with engineering just about anything.

    The second is that a lot of what you're asking for is dependent upon each player's tastes, so it's a moving target. I personally love Warriors of God with its on-occasion big swings of luck, because it provides an unexpected challenge for me to deal with and a chance to get back in the game if I'm on defense. Others find it infuriating.

    Don't stop asking, and with luck someone here will find a game that's a good match for you. But fair warning -- someone at your table won't enjoy the game as much as you do. You'll be stuck coming back and trying again!

             S.


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mortego
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I would be interested in un-balanced games just so I can compare for myself.
 
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Dutch

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Unfair - I think this one fires on all pistons for the criteria you listed. It's a card driven, hand management, tableau building game - if that interests you, then this is the game you want. It can play well 2-4 players and would probably avoid 5.

Tiny Epic Galaxies - I'm not a big fan of dice chuckers, but I do enjoy this one. You chuck dice on your turn and do actions. You can also perform actions on someone else's turn as they activate their dice if you have the culture resource. 3 players is the sweet spot for this one.

Happy Pigs - Great little game where you can hose the choice of others by picking the same action at the end of each season.
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Ladson
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Sagrilarus wrote:

   
The first is that it's more or less impossible to create such a game, because some of the features you're asking for conflict with others. That's a fundamental problem with engineering just about anything.



 
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A M
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My best recommendation for your factors is a medium-light game called Quantum.

It isn't a perfect match, because it only plays 2-4 players, so scalability is limited. Beyond this, though, it is an excellent fit:

- It has a healthy mix of strategy and luck, leaning towards strategy;
- Rules are easy-to-learn, and rulebook is clear and short;
- Modular board with tons of configurations for lots of replayability;
- Each move has tactical and strategic consequences, but one mistake isn't going to kill your game;
- Different strategies (speed, strength, positioning) can win the game;
- Players start with the same powers and abilities, so no asymmetric fears;
- Plays in 40-90 minutes depending on player count; and,
- Tons of fun.

Give it a shot!

(And try not to pay attention to the posters who are going to lecture you about how what you want is impossible, instead of giving you their best recommendation . . . you don't want to play with them anyway . . . whistle)
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Russ Williams
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RetroFanatik wrote:
-Edit: I just realized there is a recommendation's section in the forums...sorry for being dumb about it. Can a mod move my thread to the appropriate area? If that is possible. Sorry about that.

(Use the red-x at the top of the thread, select the option "Wrong forum", and an admin will move the thread for you.)

(As for a game recommendation, I'll say Concordia, a great medium length/weight economic/building euro for 2-5 players with very clear simple rules.)
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Pete
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Sagrilarus wrote:

    The game you're looking for is called Shangri-La

This one? The Bridges of Shangri-La

Pete (has it)
 
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John
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RetroFanatik wrote:
Also, please list games than can bring non-gamers, casual, and hardcore gamers to the same game. Mind you, I have party games, such as Codenames, Incan Gold, One night ultimate werewolf, and other party games that can bring these types of people together, but not so much with the slightly heavier side of strategy games.


If you want a game to work for people who don't regularly play games then it needs to be fairly quick & easy to learn and ideally new players shouldn't be at too be a disadvantage vs experienced players. Some suggestions:

Clubs 2-6p (30 mins) card game
Qwirkle 2-4p (45-60 mins) abstract strategy (I know you said no abstracts)
Push It 2-4p (10-20 mins) dexterity game
Bohnanza 2-7p (45-60 mins) card game about trading beans

All are small and fairly light but I'll happily play any of them.
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Seriously, turn off Facebook. You'll be happier.
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plezercruz wrote:
Sagrilarus wrote:

    The game you're looking for is called Shangri-La

This one? The Bridges of Shangri-La

Pete (has it)


    It was a metaphor. Trying to add a little punch to my writing.

    S.
 
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Pete
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Sagrilarus wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
Sagrilarus wrote:

    The game you're looking for is called Shangri-La

This one? The Bridges of Shangri-La

Pete (has it)


    It was a metaphor. Trying to add a little punch to my writing.

    S.
I know. I was trying to add humor to mine!

Pete (appears to have failed)
 
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Chris S

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Thanks to those that replied and I am very grateful of it. I will certainly look into the games that have been mentioned.

Of course, as I mentioned before, there may be no game that will be perfectly balanced, but at least there are some games that reach for it. And yes, the games mentioned may not be well received with certain people. Where I currently live, there are many that don't play board games other than knowing the games Monopoly and/or Risk. So, I have many party games/push your luck that involves everyone, including my wife (where rules can be exhaustive and they can lose interest). There are the rare few that do play heavier games and are willing to learn.

If there are more games, let me know!
 
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Sarah
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I'm assuming by balance, you mean between strategy and luck so all will have a chance to win?

I'm always looking for games like this to play with my daughter (hate kids game that are pure luck) so most I mention mean there is an element of luck so that she has a chance to win once in a while or in which her and my mum can gang up on me to stop me from winning lol!

Light/medium

Def +1 to mission red planet and unfair - both fit your criteria. Mission red planet really needs 3 or more but my mum and I play 2 by just removing rockets etc.

Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Automania - I just like this one lol!
Chaosmos
Ra
Steam Park
Ninjato

Light

Colt Express
The Downfall of Pompeii (more strategy than luck unlike it appears and is family favourite)
Room 25 with season 2 expansion. If you like hidden traitor types this is really fun but can also be played fully competitive or co-cooperatively so good for all.
Port Royal - great little card game with great campaign expansion on the way - plays great at 2 and more
Camel Up
Saboteur (compilation editions) - just another fun card game but also need more than 2 really.

Theme and luck element starts to get less with heavier games but some might include

Yedo has a little luck in it with some random events etc but feels very thematic and Dungeon Petz(there is auction to get actions).

I'm also really wanting to get hold of the upcoming Western Legends too lol!
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Craig B
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Check these out. All have an element of simultaneous play so that you're always involved. All have multiple paths to victory and scale fairly easily.

Light:
Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition) (not "great" at 2, 3+ is the better player counts)

Medium-Light:
Roll for the Galaxy (hits your 2+)

Medium:
Orléans with Orléans: Trade & Intrigue (required for the replay-ability) (2-4 player really, there is a 5th player expansion but I wouldn't do it.)

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Chris S

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Thanks for both of your responses! So awesome, more games to look forward to and try out!
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