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Subject: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length game rss

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Farid Widjaya
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Sooo, these past 4 months have been a wonderful discovery to this awesome hobby. As is the case with most new gamers, I'm still trying to discover what niche I actually belong to. My first games are indicated by the fact that they are mostly light-hearted, visually attractive, and non-confrontational (because of wife) games, and I think I belong to that niche. However, I find that I have not felt that satisfying, pat-yourself-in-the-back, sense that I get after I complete a game in my collection other than Power Grid. You guys know what I mean? I'm still trying to figure this out, but I think I just want something a little 'meatier' (is that the term here?) that has layers of strategies?

The other games in my collections that I'm excited to win (but like I said, not to satisfaction level of Power Grid) are San Juan, colosseum, Pillars of the Earth, and to a lesser degree, Yspahan.

What I'm looking for is something that still fills the 'visually attractive, not-too-confrontational, and plays under 2 hours' niche with a little more meat. I have some games I'm considering for my next purchase, would you guys comment on them and/or give me some other recommendations? I'd probably looking to get about 4-5 games.

Prince of Florence - I've heard about it, read reviews, and purchased Colosseum because I thought I should start with a lighter game. I DO love colosseum, would I also love this one? Are they TOO similar?

Puerto Rico - Does it offer more than San Juan? I adore San Juan and how it allows many strategies in such a short game.

Caylus - Is it really that NOT fun? I love Pillars and wondering if this would be a good step up. Are they different enough?

Goa - Would this be a good diversion over Puerto Rico & Caylus? I've heard many good things about it.

Tikal - The staple of AP-prone game along with Java, yes, but if that's what it takes to get the satisfaction I'm more than willing to purchase this. Looks gorgeous, and will be my first Action Point allowance game.

Notre Dame - 'Meatier' than Yspahan? Looks good, plays around an hour, sounds like a winner to me, but what do other geeks here think?

China - Have seen this game on Tanga recently and looks like a decent game. I enjoy Thurn and Taxis so I'm wondering if China has the same feel?

Arkadia - Dont really know much about it, other than that it plays around an hour and offers some tactical possibilities with spatial reasoning and market manipulation.

Reef Encounter - Was put off by the cover, but Scott's video review really got me interested. Looks like this offers a lot of dynamics! What do geeks think?

Antike - This will be my first Civ game should I decide to get it. Nothing screams epic like a civ game. A civ game that plays under 2 hours? Sounds like a game I would like.

As usual, thanks for the help!
 
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Carlos Robledo
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
I think that if I had to pick a single one out from looking at your top 10 games and rated games, I would have to go with Notre Dame. Hand management is a big part of the game, so your love for San Juan plays into it. It is great for the time frame you wanted, under or right at about one hour, definitely under 2. It definitely has MANY layers of strategy and verious ways to victory. It scales perfectly whether you are playing with 2 or 5 people.

However if you want something more 'meaty' than one hour and you definitely love The Pillars of the Earth, then I would totally get one of our new favorites: Cuba. Pillars of the Earth is the game that most comes to mind when playing it, though it has many other different mechanics. And I can tell you from experience, I get the 'satisfied' feeling after playing it.
 
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Ben Foy
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Caylus can be confrontational.

Princes of Florence, Goa and Reef Encounter are all very weak recommendations of Powergrid.

Notre Dame is a Weak Recommendation of San Juan. Goa is a very weak recommendation.

Puerto Rico is a heavier game than San Juan but there is no correlation between the 2. I.E. liking San Juan doesn't mean you will like PR. Though PR does allow many strategies.

Colessium has a weak recommendation for Notre Dame and Arkadia. Colessium also has a bunch of Standard Recommendations, check those games out!

Pillars also has a bunch of Standard Recommendations. Notre Dame is a Standard Recommendation. Arkadia and Goa are weak recommendations.

Yspahan has a Strong recommendation of Timbuktu! Timbuktu is a recommendation for other games too. Notre Dame and Caylus Magnacarta are Standard Recommendations. Goa is a weak recommendation.

By your preferences and the statistics, I'd suggest Timbuktu, Caylus Magnacarta, Goa and Notre Dame.
 
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Ken
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
I'll first state that I haven't played many of the games you've listed. Of those, in combination with your comments, I think Tikal is the meatiest of the bunch. Notre Dame is almost completely non-confrontational (which is the way I'm reading "meaty" from the above). Puerto Rico is quite a good game with some depth to it in terms of strategy, but perhaps not as competitive as you might like. Since the player interaction is largely defined by selecting roles, you can definitely impact your opponents, but it's not typically the game's strongest suit.

Tikal is the most competitive of the ones you've listed that I've played. The AP mechanic works well, and you're competing directly with the other players for "the good stuff." There's still plenty of strategy and many different routes to pursue, but it all revolves around who gets what and controls what when. And if you "graduate" to the auction version, it's even more competitive. Not hyper-competitive, but definitely a satisfying win.

One that I'd add to your list, though it'll run a bit longer than 2 hours - Taj Mahal. Many ways to score points, competition on every turn, but not hyper competitive because you don't have to (and couldn't humanly) win ever single turn to do well. It's also visually quite attractive and well put together.
 
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Curt Collins
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
Reef Encounter

Caylus

Princes of Florence

Puerto Rico

All are 1 to 1.5 hour games and they all have that feeling afterwards that you really played a GAME. Each offers you direct control of your own fate, unlike goa or notre dame. Puerto Rico maybe a bit less control. These games are rated highly for a reason. Power Grid fans generally like these games. You may want to try El Grande if you don't have it as well. I find all of these games visually attractive. If they were women I would ask them out.

China is a great short game 20-40 minutes, but it abruptly ends often leaving people feeling "what was that?!?".

Caylus is not anything like pillars at all.
 
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
Prince of Florence - I love this game, but... it's just hard to get it to the table. It's meaty, all right. So much so, that if you goof, you could position yourself out of the game. It's got a steep learning curve and requires 4-5 intense gamers to make it work.

Puerto Rico - It's alot more than San Juan. There are similarities, obviously, but it's a whole different animal. It plays well with 3,4, or 5 and does have that sense of accomplishment that you're talking about. It has that various roads to the end element you like about San Juan and you have to be on your toes about which roads you take (making tactical adjustments as the game dictates). Sounds like a good fit for you.

Caylus - Caylus is ok. It's tough, but not inaccessible. I think Puerto Rico is a better game for you (though the two are not really comparable). The upside of Caylus over the previous games mentioned, it plays well with 2.

Goa - Also plays well with 2. Rudiger Dorn games have a certain vibe that I like. Louis XIV, Jambo, Goa. They are all different, but I like his style. I don't have a whole lot of experience with Goa, but it's good.

Tikal - Ah, Tikal, my favorite game that I never play. Here's the deal with Tikal. Everyone loves it. No one doesn't love it. But no one plays it. It's long. You have down time when it's not your turn (lots of games have AP, but in Tikal when someone has AP, everyone has to wait for him). I only like this game with 4 players and it takes longer to play than you want it to. BUT... it is beautiful, it is a fantastic game, and it is easy for newbies to jump right in. I play it on www.spielbyweb.com which is perfect for me. I prefer that to sitting down to play it.

China - China is very good. I like it quite a bit. The mechanics a bit more simple and dry than I like, but it is very deep and engaging. It's cheap on Tanga, hard to pass up. That's where I got mine. Also, Thurn & Taxis is one of my favorite games. China is nothing like T&T to me. I never even thought of the comparison until you mentioned it (I guess, you draft cards, play routes, but houses on the board), but I don't get the same vibe at all.

Consider also one of the meatier Knizia games. You might be a candidate to be a Kniziaphile like myself.
Amun-Re
Tigris & Euphrates
Taj Mahal


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Marc Zukerman
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I wouldn't say that Caylus is a 1-1.5 hr game. Especially for people not familiar with it and with more players. It's closer to 150 minutes in my experience. Great game, but by no means short.

Puerto Rico and Princes of Florence are fantastic games, strongly recommend them. Neither are very confrontational. And the new version of Princes of Florence is very appealing aesthetically, although you'll have to download the instructions in English. For that matter, you'll need to order it from Europe... not available yet here.
 
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Farid Widjaya
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
Maksimov wrote:

It's a matter of taste, but to me both Puerto Rico and Caylus look a bit dull. I mean, I don't think they're dull games, but I wouldn't say they're "visually attractive". Then again, I'm sure you've taken a look at these games already, so if you think that they look nice, all I can say is that they're both great games.

Talking about something different...you mention Reef Encounter, which is one of my all time favourites. It's definitely one of, if not the prettiest game I've played. I'm one of those rare people who think the new version is prettier. You say you want a game that's not too confrontational, so I'm not too sure if this is what you're looking for. I mean there's a fair share of direct confrontation in the game...especially with two players. Of course it all depends on the players just how aggressive it gets.

I'm not sure if that was helpful at all, though.


Sure it was helpful! Thank you Maskimov.

About Puerto Rico & Caylus being dull - I agree that they do look dull, but at least they're not ugly And I wouldnt want to miss on good games just because they are not DoW-pretty. But I see your point about getting something with different vibes over something that's simply meatier.

The second thing I want to mention is the confrontation part. It's really hard to pin down to, but the confrontation aspect I want to avoid is the kind that makes my wife upset (because of the mean spirited aspect of it, I suppose?) - For some reason I get the vibe that Reef Encounter's confrontational nature isnt something that she would mind, while she was very upset when her cards she carefully saved up for was swapped by a magician in Citadels, or her routes are blocked in Ticket to Ride. I dont know, women are weird like that

David, your analysis of Tikal is VERY interesting. Give me something to think about definitely. Kniziaphile? Not sure about that... Ra fell so flat he wasnt qualified as a god anymore
 
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Ken
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
widjayaman wrote:
The second thing I want to mention is the confrontation part. It's really hard to pin down to, but the confrontation aspect I want to avoid is the kind that makes my wife upset (because of the mean spirited aspect of it, I suppose?) - For some reason I get the vibe that Reef Encounter's confrontational nature isnt something that she would mind, while she was very upset when her cards she carefully saved up for was swapped by a magician in Citadels, or her routes are blocked in Ticket to Ride. I dont know, women are weird like that


Yeah, it's a fine balance. My wife's much the same way. Taj Mahal drives her batty (very direct confrontation in this game), but she loves Tikal and TtR.

I'll also note that we both love Tikal and it does hit our table frequently. We solve the time problem with a time limit on player turns because this definitely is a game where you can overthink things and end up "doing diplomacy." If a turn's taking too long, any player can "Call the clock" and you've now got 2 minutes to finish.
 
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Ben Foy
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In Caylus you can move the baliff to cut off buildings so they don't produce.
 
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Jim Patterson
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I like China a great deal, but it may be a little lighter than you're looking for. Notre Dame is probably a good idea. Tikal is good fun. Puerto Rico would add more to the mix than San Juan does, though I personally think I like SJ's ease and speed of play better (but I'm not you).
 
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Morgan Dontanville
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
My favorite medium length meaty games
Age of Steam (potentially confrontational, foiling other player's plans, taking openly available resources)
Reef Encounter (certainly confrontational, direct attacks)
Princes of the Renaissance (mildly confrontational through auctions and timing)
Traders of Genoa (little confrontation through negotiation)
Caylus (Screwage by eliminating other player's actions)
18AL (Confrontation is in dumping dying corporations on other players, trashing stocks, and timing train rusting)
Indonesia (Mergers can take people by surprise)
Agricola (Confrontation is only in taking actions/goods other people want)
Imperial (Direct confrontation, but players diversify investments so that they aren't always taking the brunt of blows)
Antike (You attack each other and steal land.)
Clippers (You can steer paths away from players)
Neuland (You can jump the gun on buildings to prevent the necessary order of operations)
Vino (You can close stuff out at the last minute to screw the timing)
Dos Rios (You can have your banditos attack other banditos and change the course of the river).
End of the Triumverate (You attack each other)
Serenissima (You can attack each other)
Tahuantinsuyu (You can cut people off)
Perikles (All direct attacks cause indirect results)
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
widjayaman wrote:
I adore San Juan


Did anybody suggest Race for the Galaxy yet?
 
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
Quote:
David, your analysis of Tikal is VERY interesting. Give me something to think about definitely. Kniziaphile? Not sure about that... Ra fell so flat he wasnt qualified as a god anymore


I noticed your profile shows 1 playing of Ra. Ra is a good game, but it takes 3-5 playings before you get the finer details of the game. Many Knizia games are like that. First impression is dry, too simple, very ho-hum. But after a few games, you start to see the subtle game underneath. If you've already played Ra a few times and still don't like it, then oh, well. You gave it a whirl.

I hear you about confrontation. There is confrontation where my move specifically hurts you and there is confrontation where my move helps me but eliminates something for you. In Power Grid, I could buy up all the coal so you are left out in the cold and that is direct confrontation. Or, I could outbid you on a bitchen power plant leaving you the lesser plants to choose from. That is a little more indirect confrontation. And yeah, many wives by and large tend to not like direct confrontation because the move appears to be more hurtful to someone than helpful to you (though the net effect may be the same--taking 2 points from you is like getting 2 points for me). I tend to think, you did a great move for you that happened to hurt me--kudos. I sat down to play, and I want you to make your best moves in your every effort to win, even if you sick the robber on me, ship my coffee, or take the last freakin' Pilsen so I'll never get to Lodz. It's a strange touchy subject that always drums up sexist comments, but a dutiful husband must consider such things.

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Old: "Amun-Re", "Walhalla"

New: "Cuba", "King of Siam"
 
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widjayaman wrote:
Prince of Florence - I've heard about it, read reviews, and purchased Colosseum because I thought I should start with a lighter game. I DO love colosseum, would I also love this one? Are they TOO similar?


I've only played PoF once, but it seems meatier, or at least more obscure. I was able to grok Colosseum after the first play. I lost my first game of PoF and had no idea why. Of course, it could have something to do with getting in on the ground floor of Colosseum. I played it soon after it first came out. With PoF, I was playing with veterans.

widjayaman wrote:
Puerto Rico - Does it offer more than San Juan? I adore San Juan and how it allows many strategies in such a short game.


In the rules, they sound very similar, but in strategy and tactics, they are totally different. Note that in San Juan, no one can really interfere with your producing and trading, other than to take the role you wanted and let you produce or trade less than you had hoped. In Puerto Rico, goods are of a limited supply, so someone can cut you out of producing. They can also block you from trading (much more easily). Or, they can force you to ship goods that you wanted to trade. (Shipping goods gives you points instead of money.) Or, they can prevent you from shipping goods you wanted to ship. Whereas most of the best buildings in San Juan are about getting cards or saving on building costs, many of the good buildings in Puerto Rico are those that shield you from those aggressive tactics.

widjayaman wrote:
Caylus - Is it really that NOT fun? I love Pillars and wondering if this would be a good step up. Are they different enough?


It's about as fun as a tug-of-war. You've got a lot of tactical planning to do, and if you're outthought, you can slip and fall behind. Someone gets the favor at the castle that you wanted, or builds the stone building you wanted to build. If you like to be on your toes all the time, you'll like it. I have to play it in moderation. If you care at all about theme, probably steer clear. It's cube farming. At the end of a tough game, you might find yourself thinking, "I did it all for what? A bunch of cubes?"

widjayaman wrote:
Tikal - The staple of AP-prone game along with Java, yes, but if that's what it takes to get the satisfaction I'm more than willing to purchase this. Looks gorgeous, and will be my first Action Point allowance game.


Not a bad game, and it's not too confrontational. There is area majority scoring, but everybody gets to score at the end of their own turn, so if you're beat out, you can bring in reinforcements, or retreat to elsewhere. The trick is setting it up just right so your opponent can't bring in enough in valuable areas. Of course, that often leaves other areas open.

widjayaman wrote:
Notre Dame - 'Meatier' than Yspahan? Looks good, plays around an hour, sounds like a winner to me, but what do other geeks here think?


I didn't find this very "meaty". I've only played Yspahan once, but it seemed like it had some average meaty potential, I'd say more than Notre Dame. I find Notre Dame to be mostly an exercise in not going broke (in three categories of brokeness).

widjayaman wrote:
China - Have seen this game on Tanga recently and looks like a decent game. I enjoy Thurn and Taxis so I'm wondering if China has the same feel?


Much more confrontational. Unlike T&T, spaces can only be occupied by one player. You can block roads. There's also area majority, which always creates confrontation.

widjayaman wrote:
Antike - This will be my first Civ game should I decide to get it. Nothing screams epic like a civ game. A civ game that plays under 2 hours? Sounds like a game I would like.


Don't believe that playing time. All games, in my experience, underestimate playing time, and civ games are the biggest liars. I'd estimate more like 4 hours.
 
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Farid Widjaya
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
Gelatinous Goo wrote:

I noticed your profile shows 1 playing of Ra. Ra is a good game, but it takes 3-5 playings before you get the finer details of the game. Many Knizia games are like that. First impression is dry, too simple, very ho-hum. But after a few games, you start to see the subtle game underneath. If you've already played Ra a few times and still don't like it, then oh, well. You gave it a whirl.


Actually we had a couple plays of Ra, neither was finished because people I played with just didn't like it. Maybe it was because of the convoluted aspect of the scoring over the seemingly too-simple mechanic, I dont know. But I doubt I would be able to bring it up to the table anymore. I understand why so many gamers like it, however.

Gelatinous Goo wrote:

I hear you about confrontation. There is confrontation where my move specifically hurts you and there is confrontation where my move helps me but eliminates something for you.

And yeah, many wives by and large tend to not like direct confrontation because the move appears to be more hurtful to someone than helpful to you.

It's a strange touchy subject that always drums up sexist comments, but a dutiful husband must consider such things.


That's it! You nail it right on the head right there. Some games have confrontation that is either purposely or seemingly designed to screw the other person over and my wife just hates that, while other games allow you to be confrontational because that's what you need to do to win and in an somewhat indirect way put the other person at an disadvantage.


Greg, thanks for the wonderful insights... and LOL at Antike & NotreDame comment.
 
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Taj Mahal. Hands down. Meaty enough for the hungriest carnivore. Plays in 45-60 mins. A lot going on. Different paths to victory. Simple, but fairly deep, gameplay. Excellent replay value.
 
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
sisteray wrote:
My favorite medium length meaty games
Age of Steam (potentially confrontational, foiling other player's plans, taking openly available resources)
Reef Encounter (certainly confrontational, direct attacks)
Princes of the Renaissance (mildly confrontational through auctions and timing)
Traders of Genoa (little confrontation through negotiation)
Caylus (Screwage by eliminating other player's actions)
18AL (Confrontation is in dumping dying corporations on other players, trashing stocks, and timing train rusting)
Indonesia (Mergers can take people by surprise)
Agricola (Confrontation is only in taking actions/goods other people want)
Imperial (Direct confrontation, but players diversify investments so that they aren't always taking the brunt of blows)
Antike (You attack each other and steal land.)
Clippers (You can steer paths away from players)
Neuland (You can jump the gun on buildings to prevent the necessary order of operations)
Vino (You can close stuff out at the last minute to screw the timing)
Dos Rios (You can have your banditos attack other banditos and change the course of the river).
End of the Triumverate (You attack each other)
Serenissima (You can attack each other)
Tahuantinsuyu (You can cut people off)
Perikles (All direct attacks cause indirect results)


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Alexander B.
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My own taste on these games relative to one another:

Prince of Florence

Puerto Rico

Goa

Tikal

Notre Dame

Arkadia

Reef Encounter


Some more in this category:

Indonesia

Imperial

Leonardo da Vinci

 
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
diamondspider wrote:

Prince of Florence
Goa
Imperial
Leonardo da Vinci


I agree with the high rating for those four games.

I also second the nomination of Age of Steam and Traders of Genoa.

I am surprised no one has mentioned this gem - Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery.



 
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Re: Newbie looking for some meaty/satisfying medium-length g
MWChapel wrote:
sisteray wrote:
My favorite medium length meaty games
Age of Steam (potentially confrontational, foiling other player's plans, taking openly available resources)
Reef Encounter (certainly confrontational, direct attacks)
Princes of the Renaissance (mildly confrontational through auctions and timing)
Traders of Genoa (little confrontation through negotiation)
Caylus (Screwage by eliminating other player's actions)
18AL (Confrontation is in dumping dying corporations on other players, trashing stocks, and timing train rusting)
Indonesia (Mergers can take people by surprise)
Agricola (Confrontation is only in taking actions/goods other people want)
Imperial (Direct confrontation, but players diversify investments so that they aren't always taking the brunt of blows)
Antike (You attack each other and steal land.)
Clippers (You can steer paths away from players)
Neuland (You can jump the gun on buildings to prevent the necessary order of operations)
Vino (You can close stuff out at the last minute to screw the timing)
Dos Rios (You can have your banditos attack other banditos and change the course of the river).
End of the Triumverate (You attack each other)
Serenissima (You can attack each other)
Tahuantinsuyu (You can cut people off)
Perikles (All direct attacks cause indirect results)


Morgan is like my brotha from another mother.


You're like my sister from another mister.

A shame we couldn't meet up at BGG.Con.
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