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Subject: Battle of the Big Box games! rss

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Hi guys,

i need some help deciding which one of the following board games should i get. I'm currently look at Twilight Imperium 3, Tide of Iron, Runebound, Battlelore, War of the Ring, Starcraft and Descent. Production value and expandability is what i'm mainly looking for.

Thanks in advance!
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Justin Robben
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Well, Descent: Journeys in the Dark is your game then, imo.

It certainly has production value, and more expansions than you need (not more than you need really, but I couldn't think of anything more clever to say).

The only drawbacks are playing time for a typical session tend to be a tad long (4 hours or so) and there alot of minutiae to the rules.

A real gem, however, faults withstanding...
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Ron R.
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I wasn't a great fan of Runebound. It played very solo from the start with each player running through their turn with little effect from others. I was not overly impressed with this in comparison to a few others on your list.

I've enjoyed Descent the few times I've played it, but it's just not what I was looking for to fill my dungeon crawl nitch. It was a bit long (I can get a DnD game run in the same amount of time), and at times rather dry as far as the decisions go. A) Kill everything in site B) spread out to cover line of sight so the OL is limited in respawning C) regroup quick enough to get to the next room and repeat.

I'm definitely a fan of Starcraft, as it scales fairly well to the number of people playing. I'm also looking forward to Twilight Imperium for the first time. A group of us got together for a rule a summary that ran for about an hour and half. From what I've seen it's pretty exciting as long as you the time.

I can't speak for the others as they interest me, I just haven't gotten around to trying them . . .
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John W
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Until you rate some games and (most importantly) give some personal comments about why you did/didn't like them, then whatever recommendations people will give you is solely from THEIR tastes and preferences....
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James Palmer
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Those are all VERY different games. I would need more information before I could give any sort of recommendation. I believe they all have good production values, and you can see by the number of expansions and how people rate them on how expandable they are.
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J.L. Robert
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Buy them all.

Then buy a NEW HOUSE to store all of them.
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Michael Denman
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Knowing how many players you're going to have would help too.
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Greg Jones
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Vengeances wrote:
Hi guys,

i need some help deciding which one of the following board games should i get. I'm currently look at Twilight Imperium 3, Tide of Iron, Runebound, Battlelore, War of the Ring, Starcraft and Descent. Production value and expandability is what i'm mainly looking for.

Thanks in advance!


I think a big factor in choosing between these games will be how much time you have to play a game, and how long of a game can you convince your friends to play. Here are the games I've played out of those above, ranked from longest to shortest:

Twilight Imperium: 4 hours - a weekend (3-8 players)
War of the Ring: haven't played but I've heard it's 4 hours
Runebound: 4 hours
Starcraft: 1.5-2 hours
Battlelore: 1 hour

I guess you could also put them in categories: fantasy war game (Battlelore, War of the Ring), dungeon crawl (Runebound, Descent), and space empire builder (Starcraft, Twilight Imperium). Most of these categories have one longer game and one shorter game.

For me, I'd usually pick the longer game. I like short games, but in these categories, the short game usually feels rushed and unsatisfying. Starcraft was over before I really got going. Twilight Imperium is epic with galactic diplomacy, treachery, and swings of fate. Battlelore is just too simplistic for me. I haven't played but from what I've heard I think I'd like the grand scale and thematic immersion of War of the Ring.
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Diz Hooper
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If you have friends that can dedicate a whole day to playing one game, then Twilight Imperium is definitely the way to go. It's epic! You'll be talking about each game for weeks after.
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Darren M
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Those are all very different styles of games and all they really have in common is that they do come in relatively big boxes.

I'd rank them like this:

1 Battlelore - plenty of expansion possibilities
2 War of the Ring - has an expansion
3 Twilight Imperium 3- has an expansion
4 Descent - has expansions
5 Starcraft - no expansion yet but no doubt will have one soon.
6 Tide of Iron - plenty of expansion possibilities on the horizon.
7 Runebound - nothing but tons of expansions.

You could also throw games like Arkham Horror (lots of expansions) and Railroad Tycoon (1 expansion and more coming) and A Game of Thrones (2 expansions so far) into the mix as well as those are mighty big boxes as well.

All our advice doesn't mean much though as we don't know what you might like... Wargames? Dungeon Crawls? Fantasy? Science Fiction?

How many gamers will you have to play with? What are their preferences? What type of game length are you looking for? 2 hours... 4 ... 6?

Too many variables to really say game X is best for you.

Look at some pictures of each potential game and read a few reviews of each and a few session reports to get a feel for the type of gameplay of each.

If you can watch a video review of some of them that might also be helpful to get a look at the "games in action" so to speak.

That's pretty much the only good way to get a feel for each game without actually trying them before you buy them.

Each game on your list has its fans and detractors so you'll get a lot of conflicting advice and only you can really decide which might be best for your group.
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Steve Stanton
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I'm not familiar with Runebound but any of these choices should be outstanding.
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C Lloyd
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Well... They're all good choices IMO. But, since you asked here's my take:

1) Twilight Imperium - My personal favorite. Definitely a BIG box, and has an expansion. Epic, various ways to score, great production value.
2) Descent - Another BIG box. Great production value, and very expandable.
3) Tide of Iron - (see above)

Both of the first two games can be very long. I can only speak directly for TI3, but it's well worth the time (a whole afternoon/day) spent.

War of the Ring has awesome production value, a pretty big box, and great rules / game play.

Another thought might be Arkham Horror which (while not a BIG box) has excellent production value and multiple expansions.
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C Lloyd
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fiatkid55 wrote:
I'm not familiar with Runebound but any of these choices should be outstanding.

Runebound is certainly expandable. Good fun for smaller groups (four or less) and playable solo, as is Arkham Horror. That might make a difference if you can't always find others to play.
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Sean
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Number of players is key. They all have great production value. I own them all(and most of the exps) except Starcraft and here is my take:

War of the ring, 2 player, outstanding game but not likely to play twice in a row. Rules heavy. 1 expansion, but not necessary for the game to be enjoyable. 3 hours

Battlelore, 2 player, outstanding game, could play it twice in a row. Best in Epic mode. Many expansions, Call To Arms almost a necessity. 1 hour

TI3, 2 to 6 players, outstanding game but really needs 5 or 6 to shine. Lots of player interaction. 1 expansion, but not necesary for the game to be enjoyable. 6+ hours depending on experience of players

Starcraft, 2 to 6 players, outstanding game and best with 4, could play it twice in a row. No expansions yet. 1.5 hours

Descent, 2 to 5 players, outstanding game, best with 5 as 1 player needs to be the overlord or DM. 4 expansions but none necessary for the game to be enjoyable. 4+ hours depending on experience of players

Runebound, 2 to 6 players but has solo variant, outstanding game but suffers from a lot of downtime with 5 or 6. Many small card expansions, of which many are needed eventually to keep the game fresh. 3+ hours depending on number of players

Tide of Iron, 2 player, outstanding game, could play twice in a row. Scenario based and some are unbalanced. 1 expansion but not necessary for the game to be enjoyable. Length of time is based upon the scenario chosen but likely to be between 1-4 hours

There are many criteria involved in choosing just 1 but as a serious gamer you should get them all eventually. They are all great games and all have high quality components
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secret user
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Thanks for the great replies guys.
My group is ranges from 2 - 8 people, with around 5 - 6 hours of free time daily. Replayability would be a plus since the game would probably be played on a daily basis.

Heres my thoughts on the games

Twilight Imperium 3 - Great sci fi theme, love the 4X gameplay, nice looking miniature but board seems meh

Tide of Iron - WW2 theme seems good, gameplay looks interesting, once again nice looking miniature and board

Battlelore - Fantasy theme, but does not really seem intergrated into the game. Would be my first C&C game tho i have heard lots of ravings about it. i know C&C:A is supposely touted as the superior game, but i still prefer BF over it.

War of the Ring - Did the least research on this. ALl i know is that its LOTR themed and has assymmetrical gameplay

Starcraft - Again sci fi theme is great esp since its starcraft. Gameplay seems fun, but there seems to be lots of debate bout it

Descent - Great fantasy theme, seems nicely intergrated. Gameplay seems intersting also, with very well made minature and board. Lots of cardboard token makes it looks messy tho.

once again thanks to everyone who have replied and is going to reply
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Gary Bradley
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morningstar wrote:
I guess you could also put them in categories: fantasy war game (Battlelore, War of the Ring), dungeon crawl (Runebound, Descent), and space empire builder (Starcraft, Twilight Imperium).


Nitpick: Runebound is an open-ended adventure game like Talisman, not a dungeon crawler.
 
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Diz Hooper
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The board for Twilight Imperium isn't that bad. It serves it's purpose. Besides, once you've started a game, how nice the planets on the board look will be the last thing that you'll be thinking about.

The other game that I've seen mentioned here that I've played, Runebound, wasn't that exciting. It took a little too long to get the characters leveled up, so what we had to end up doing is giving characters a heart or two of bonus life so that we wouldn't have to spend an hour getting killed by the smallest creatures. That helped a bit, but there wasn't much player interaction.
 
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Todd
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I have most of the games on your list and like them all.

If you like the scifi theme, pick up TI3 and the expansion if you know you'll have at least 3 players. TI3 is a complex game but very rewarding and takes a long time (5-6 hours should be fine). I could easily play this one every day given the chance. I wouldn't worry about the board with TI3. With the construction rules, it changes every game and it does look good and very functional when you are playing.

ToI is great, another one of my favorites, but only really plays with 2 or 4 players.

Descent plays 2-5 people, is currently the favorite in my house, but one person will be playing against the all other players. That is not usually a problem but depends on the group. The expansions are great and we're having fun with the RtL campaign system at the moment.

Perhaps the best one for your group would be Starcraft since it can accommodate 2-6 players. I've played a few games of this and it seems to scale well for more people.

Unfortunately, Runebound would be my weakest recommendation on the list. While I do like the game, the others on your list are so much better.

Maus
 
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