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Subject: Simple-to-learn but deep-to-master 4-player games? rss

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Mike A
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Any simple-to-learn but deep-to-master 4-player games out there?

Having two non-gamer friends come over, an adult male and his 14-year old boy. I wanted something that isn't pure party light fun, so beyond a Sushi Go, Skull, or Cockroach Poker. More abstract-style tactical thinking, a fun theme, plays more than 30 minutes, and ideally keeps everyone's attention the whole game (e.g. simultaneous or interactive).

In my current collection, Imhotep and My Little Scythe come to mind but these aren't thematically attractive. Games like SW Rebellion, Blood Rage, Kemet, and Cyclades are more what I'm looking for, but those are too rules heavy and the last thing I want is them getting frustrated.

Quest for El Dorado is pretty close. Rules are sufficiently light, quick to teach, but not as tactically deep as I'd like.

Perhaps something like Cosmic Encounter, Sheriff of Nottingham, Red Dragon Inn, or Flamme Rouge? Concerned Sheriff and RDI wouldn't have any depth. Flamme Rouge looked neat if they could get into it. Cosmic Encounter might be a winner, is that fun for 1st timers? Or perhaps Wiz-War or Five Tribes.

Ideas welcome. =)
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Evan S.
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I'd recommend Castles of Mad King Ludwig. It's a step up in rules, but I've never had a problem teaching (including teaching a 10-year old).
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chris thatcher
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Cosmic is great but it really is such a group dependant game and some of the aliens have a lot of text and can be confusing especially if you don't play games frequently.

I love Wiz War, maybe a good suggestion. Again though do they like conflict?, also you can be eliminated in Wiz-War

Cyclades (base game) really does not have many rules.

What about something like Lords of Waterdeep. Easy rules.
 
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Tuomas Uusitalo
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Wildlands? Albeit not sure if it counts as deep to master
 
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Michael Larson
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tuppari wrote:
Wildlands? Albeit not sure if it counts as deep to master



Came here to say Wildlands too! I think learning the depth of the hand management and when to play your interrupt cards take it to deep to master. Absolutely love this game and its so easy to teach.
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From the games you have maybe Kingdom Builder?
I have not played it but as far as I understand it is supereasy to learn but has some deeper tactics in it.

Or maybe 7 Wonders?
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Miccele Collando
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3minator Eve
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+1 7 wonders

Five Tribes also seems like a good idea! Has a nice flow to it without being too simple. But it doesn't really have a lot of theme...?

edit: my suggestions didn't really fit into the deep-to-master category
 
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Mike A
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Collando wrote:


Ordered - thank you. =)
 
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Adam P
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Through the Desert
Splendor
Via Nebula
Century: Spice Road
Kingdom Builder
Medici
Port Royal
Samurai
Stockpile

maybe:
Sentient
Bunny Kingdom
San Juan (second edition) / Villages of Valeria
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Andrew Plassard
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I'd recommend Cryptid. The rules are so simple but there is a good amount of depth that comes from them.
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Samo Oleami
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First thoughts:
- Qwirkle - basically scrabble without words. It is simple. It is deep. But has no theme. Interaction is ... well, more than in modern euros, but it's scrabble.
- Blokus - this is a 4 player abstract. Very very simple to teach. And it can be nasty. Yes, nasty with no theme or orcs, but listen to me here - it's about encircling areas and blocking off others. Might take a game or two for things to click (but that's what "deep" means).

Ah, so you want simple and theme.
- Condottiere - Basically a card game crossed with Risk. Play by 1st/2nd ed. rules (which are simpler and create a more tense game). The game is about psychology - i.e. passing the buck. But of course there are card combos and whatnot - yet very simple ones.
- Get Bit! - 20-30 min. It's a doublethink game - all about predicting the opponents. And running away from the shark.
- Survive: Escape from Atlantis! - ah, yes, this. It's a family game for evil families. Relatively simple. Has attacking. Has cooperation! (yes, really - "shared incentives" stuff). Looks fun enough to drag people in.
- King of Tokyo - not sure what your idea of "depth" is. This game can be played with zero thought or with more thought. More thought usually beats zero thought (usually because it's a dice game). On the high level it's about figuring out what the rest think it's a good play and doing the opposite. On the basic level it's roll dice and "mwahaha".
 
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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+1 Blokus
+1 Splendor
+1 Quircle

Further i´d Suggest
Taluva
Ekö
The Bridges of Shangri-La
and last but not least my Topology
 
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Peter Mogensen
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Photosynthesis
Tigris & Euphrates

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Mike A
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sgosaric wrote:

- Survive: Escape from Atlantis! - ah, yes, this. It's a family game for evil families. Relatively simple. Has attacking. Has cooperation! (yes, really - "shared incentives" stuff). Looks fun enough to drag people in.

Ordered Survive - thank you.
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Richard Adkins
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Quantum seems to fit.

Eketorp is older and not as highly acclaimed as some suggestions, however, it seems to be what you are describing when talking about Survive.



 
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Sequence
 
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Samo Oleami
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sh4mike wrote:
sgosaric wrote:

- Survive: Escape from Atlantis! - ah, yes, this. It's a family game for evil families. Relatively simple. Has attacking. Has cooperation! (yes, really - "shared incentives" stuff). Looks fun enough to drag people in.

Ordered Survive - thank you.

Fingers crossed.

I've played this with 16 y.o. nongaming girls and it worked.
And with 12 y.o. girls and it kinda didn't quite (rules they understood, being vicious to one another they didn't - but in this game I didn't participate. It's easier to grok if shown by example).
So you should be fine! Good luck!
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Tim Park
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The King Is Dead - or its earlier version, König von Siam — is a wonderful 2 and 3 player game that plays four with silent partner teams. Only eight actions in game (with lots of passing in between), several are color variations or duplicates of others, all have same set of 8 cards. Not too long, simple rule set, very deep.

China, Web of Power and the most recent Han are iterations of the same game, area control on a couple levels, interesting ranked scoring. I’ve had great luck introducing it to non-gamers, as well, and it plays to 5, but it’s great with 4.

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Juhan Voolaid
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Jeffrey Klein
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Nusfjord
Splendor
Century: Spice Road
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure if you like a deck builder
Dice Forge if you like rolling dice
Ex Libris

These are a few in my collection that I play with new or casual gamers.
 
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sh4mike wrote:

Quest for El Dorado is pretty close. Rules are sufficiently light, quick to teach, but not as tactically deep as I'd like.


While you wan't something tactically deep, you might need to set that preference aside. Especially considering they are non-gamers, the most important thing is that they have fun. You hit the nail on the head with, "the last thing I want is them getting frustrated." Sometimes you have to manage the fun factor by making less than optimal choices for yourself. The key is that you want them to come back.

Don't over think it. Start them off with something simple.

Games that you already have...

Small World
Nexus Ops

Maybe you have played Small World so much that you're tired of it. But you have to remember that every game you own is going to be new to them.

Camel Up - yes, it's more of a party game, but it's fun. It's one of those that shows what board games can be. I have friends that played this once over a year ago and they still talk about it.

Once you get past Small World and Nexus Ops, I'd recommend pick up...

The Godfather: Corleone's Empire

Super easy to teach. You can even do a quick round to learn the game then start over once everyone has a feel of what's going on. Think of it as a Blood Rage Lite + Lords of Waterdeep.


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A M
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+ 1 for Quantum. Terrific four player game, lots of options but easy to learn.

Consider Scoville as well. It might be a little heavier and longer than what you are looking for, but it has a pretty gentle learning curve and is a smooth play.
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Nikolai
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sh4mike wrote:
Any simple-to-learn but deep-to-master 4-player games out there?


I immediately thought of Concordia when reading this. But it might be a little too complex for non-gamers.

Kingdom Builder from your collection, which was already suggested twice, sounds like a good fit to me.
 
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Mike A
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Concordia would definitely be too much. =)

I want zero intimidation, which means no stacks of cards or an array of components to manage. Thus I picked up recommendations for Glux and Survive.

Ended up playing Glux w/ my 5-year old last night, it's perfect. Takes 3 minutes to teach, a few turns to get comfy, and already super-deep in tactical thought towards the end of that first game. Too bad the theme is about as boring as it gets.
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