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Subject: Multiplayer "beat on each other" games? rss

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Eric Haines
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So it'll be my 50th birthday in a few weeks, and my family wants to know what I'd like for a present. Well, a game, of course, but which one? I have two boys, ages 17 & 15, and the older one likes games where you attack each other. So, I'd like to find a game that plays well with say 3-4 players (we can usually rope mom in, or a friend of mine or the boys). My older son just got Titan for a lot on eBay (when will this game ever be reissued?). It's got the basic mechanisms that are fun: gather troops, beat on each other. But a 6+ hour game is a bit more than I'd like, especially since players get knocked out and that's that for them. Something in the two hour range is more like it, where everyone sticks around. Which kinda rules out things like the StarCraft boardgame conversion.

Vinci is one we mostly like, but you don't feel much in control - you know your current empire will someday soon be buried by the next wave. Nexus Ops has a good "fight fight fight" feel to it, but feels cramped and limited in its options. Risk is too wimpy (though I should probably look for rules variants - suggestions?), and Risk 2210 A.D. too annoying: "you're going to attack? I have a card to stop you". Tigris & Euphrat is pretty attack-oriented (and mostly a wonderful game), but a bit too abstract.

So, ideas? It doesn't have to have a conflict or war theme, struggle for nitrogen nodules in the potato patch might be a fine backstory, but the general idea of mustering forces, moving pieces around, and beating on each other is what I'd like to find. All suggestions welcome!
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A Game of Thrones (first edition)

Game of Thrones! Although it does play best with 5... it's entirely enjoyable with even 3. Definitely opportunity for the good fight. And, no, you do not have to know the story to play.
 
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John W
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Nexus Ops really sounds like it fits your bill.
I know you think its "options are limited", but that's a knock on most boardgames.
It succeeds in exactly what you were describing you wanted. 2, 3, and 4 player beat-em-up, quick and brutal.

I'd suggest Heroscape also because it and Titan are the best (monstery) slugathons I know of, but it sounds like you are not thinking Heroscape is suitable...?
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Kent Reuber
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Titan is the game you want. An excellent fantasy game with both strategic and tactical elements. Soon to be reprinted by Valley Games.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Borderlands -- make your own copy easily enough.
Terrain Vague -- get from German or French EBay (I just did)
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Brad Miller
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I will add that player elimination is pretty rare in Starcraft, and after a few games, will take far less than 6 hours. Nexus Ops if you want less than one hour.
 
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Ralph T
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Titan isn't a six hour game unless you avoid each other the whole time. It's about an hour per person at most.
 
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"GAME OVER, MAN. GAME OVER!"
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Heroscape is great for fast, furious, (f)multi-player fighting fun!
If it doesn´t have to be everybody against each other, Memoir 44 overlord is good for team vs team battles.
Alternatively, DooM, with up to 3 players cooperating against 1 other. There´s a lot of combat action going on! Or if you prefer fantasy to sci-fi, there´s Descent.
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Tony Chen
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Well Tigris & Euphrates is great if you can appreciate its abstract gameplay.

Twilight Imperium is good, but may take too long and fighting can be long in between.
Shogun is great.
Antike is great for a couple of plays, but gets repetitive after a while. But then, so are most games of this type.

Those are the ones I've played. Game of Thrones has piqued my interest as well.
 
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Mark Hubbard
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If you're looking for old school stuff, there's AH's Naval War card game, or MB's Conquest of the Empire and/or Broadsides and Boarding Parties.

If you want newer fare, try any variant of Munchkin, where dishing out backstabs (and trying to recover!) is almost more fun than winning!
 
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Mark Slater
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El Grande may do what you want, not exactly attacking, but you are trying to get majority in areas.

Another vote for Shogun and Antike, also take a look at Mare Nostrum.
Tigris and Euphrates, as has been said, is a good conflict euro (I got a copy this week )

Look at Dust by FFG. Not played it myself though.
 
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Russ Williams
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Possibly Neuroshima Hex! 3.0. I like it best with 2, but it works with 3 or 4 as well, and becomes much more chaotic and less skill-based, more about whining "Don't attack me, Joe is the leader!"
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Robert Washington

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I'd recommend

Venus Needs Men, but you may find the Zap cards a bit too much like RISK: 2210 depending on which cards come up when and how they're used. They are finite in duration and don't get replenished, so their effect is limited, though.

And I think Blood Feud in New York is underrated and worth checking out - there's some calculation that gets a little tedious, but overall the various strategic choices and extra-cutthroat nature make it fairly enjoyable.
(Not sure if Mom will join in for that one, what with the whole
Godfather/gang war elements, but it is fun...)

I've also heard a lot of good things about Viktory II, but haven't played it myself.

EDIT: Also

- I would usually strongly recommend War on Terror, but a) it's really best with at least 4-6 b) it's probably about 2 and a half hours on the average.

- I'm a little surprised the AXIS & ALLIES series hasn't come up - the main game is for up to 5, and I think there's at least one 3 player (PACIFIC FRONT?).

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Eric Haines
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Wow, excellent recommendations, all, and thanks a lot. I followed up on each suggestion and have made a pick (at least until the next post sends me again searching). For my own sake as much as anything, I'll run through some suggestions here. Please do tell me if I'm way off base, since for most of these I'm looking in from the outside.

We already have Risk, Risk 2210, Nexus Ops, Titan, and Tigris & Euphrates. Poking through the games closet, I noticed the ancient "Russian Civil War", which I recall loving once upon a time. Downsides of this one are a large number of 12.3.5.1a type of rules, a high randomness factor, and an annoying tendency for the game to turn into an assassination fest when there are many players. Still, in what other game can you attack your own forces? (Answer: "Ancient Conquest".) Another aggressive game that popped out was "Kingmaker", which has a fair bit of attacking but a huge randomness factor and often have lengthy lulls as one player dominates and waits for storms or other events to bring others in range for the final kill. We also have "Munchkin", which for some reason doesn't appeal to me - way too random, as I recall.

I entirely forgot about "A Game of Thrones", perhaps because of the spanking I took the one time I played; under my direction, the Starks did a bit worse than they do in the books, which is saying something. A friend plays this game a lot in his family of four (teenage boy and girl) and they love it. A minor turn-off for me is that the initial setup is pretty much the same each time. Also, it seems that some positions are stronger than others. Still, could be good.

"HeroScape" - I've seen in very elaborate forms at GenCon, it looked interesting. For a pure slugfest this one fits the bill, though the huge number of expansions makes me fear for my wallet.

"Borderlands" - cool! A game I can make (without guilt, since it's long out of print). This sounds along the lines I want: variable setup, economic factor, armies marching around. I'm off to the crafts store today for some counter backing material.

"StarCraft" - seems long, and my kids have played the computer game to death, so I have a feeling playing this would remind them that they could be playing the real thing instead of wasting time with cardboard.

"Shogun" - very high on the list. I'm a japanophile to begin with, so I've been eyeing this one for awhile; it's good to hear that it's indeed worthwhile. The (minor) turn off, for me: doing stuff for points, vs. directly winning via beating up the other person's forces (Nexus Ops has this same drawback in spades, where you can do stupid stuff just for the sake of victory points).

"War on Terror" - I definitely must try this one out someday. I suspect this one would get frowns from mom, not so much from theme but from fashion sense: she'd never wear that balaklava. Thanks for noting it's best with 4-6 and long play time, which would be hard to guarantee.

"Antike" - Hmmm, hard to know; you win by gathering personalities? But it does sound like there's a fair bit of combat. I appreciate hearing that replay value can be low.

"Mare Nostrum" - A playable game of Civilization? Short rules? Tempting! The running joke back in my college days was, "want to play a quick game of Civilization?" (with "Titan" also getting used as the punchline). That said, it's unnerving to read on the BGG description, "Our game lasted almost five hours, but it didn't feel that long". Yikes! True?

"Blood Feud in New York" - one I've never heard of, thanks for the tip. But, out of print...

"Viktory II" - again, never heard of it, but it is now at the top of my list. I like the economic aspect, the "it's worth trying to beat the odds and attack" feel, the randomized setup and exploration elements, and that it seems to scale with number of players. The "drag down the leader" aspect is a turn-off, since it can make the game go on forever, but that's inherent in any multiplayer beat-em-up without scoring. Price is also steep, but I'm not buying thumbsup

There were other recommendations, of course, but I'll stop here. So, my short list is (not including Borderlands, which I'll make this weekend):

Viktory II
Shogun
Mare Nostrum
Antike
Game of Thrones

Of course, that's me, and I've played only one of these so far. So if anyone has any comments, bring them on! In the meantime, thanks again to all - this thread's been a huge help.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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erich666 wrote:
"Shogun" - very high on the list. I'm a japanophile to begin with, so I've been eyeing this one for awhile; it's good to hear that it's indeed worthwhile. The (minor) turn off, for me: doing stuff for points, vs. directly winning via beating up the other person's forces (Nexus Ops has this same drawback in spades, where you can do stupid stuff just for the sake of victory points).


The Shogun you really need is listed here as Ikusa (it was originally 'Shogun' but was renamed after running afoul of copyright problems with James Clavell's book).

The game is out of print, but findable and well worth looking for. It absolutely fits the criteria of what you're looking for.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Just noticed that somebody has a copy for sale here on BGG for $70. I'd snap it up if I were you.
 
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John W
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erich666 wrote:
"HeroScape" - I've seen in very elaborate forms at GenCon, it looked interesting. For a pure slugfest this one fits the bill, though the huge number of expansions makes me fear for my wallet.
So just pick up the Rise of the Valyrie master set if you can find one for cheap.
It was $20 just 9 months ago.
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Eric Haines
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Sphere wrote:
The Shogun you really need is listed here as Ikusa


Oh, thanks for the clarification! I noticed that name collision, and just assumed people meant the newer Shogun (which also has high marks, but sounds less combat-oriented).
 
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Laurence Parsons
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I definately second Neuroshima Hex! 3.0.
Another one that slips through the net, but is a brilliant game is Reef Encounter.
Somewhat shorter that 2 hours, but great fun, is Ca$h 'n Gun$.
 
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Dan Rivera
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Check out Viktory II, the best beat on each other game Ive ever played. No player elimination but constant tension and your never realy out of it. Plays in the 2 -3 hour range. This is a great game and cant recommend it enough.
 
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Robert Washington

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Always nice to get a bit of feedback on this kind of thing.

Yes, WAR ON TERROR is very solid, and a 2nd edition is planned for sometime next year with a few tweaks on it; the original's really well worth it, though. One house rule quickly adopted is that the Balaclava need not be worn on the head or completely covering it; "skullcap fashion", "on the shoulder", and "sock puppet style" are all acceptable enough at my gatherings; this became a mandate after the potential to have to wear it right after a cold/allergy sufferer came up... yuk

Keep forgetting BLOOD FEUD is out of print, but my understanding it's at least as easy to come by as SAMURAI SWORDS, though even I admit the latter is the best of the 2. IMO, it's a pretty close race, though...

And actually, the newer SHOGUN is very much about combat, it just adds in several resource management elements that demand careful planning and greatly discourage reckless behavior.

Also - I suspect most of the people who chimed in did mean the newer version, though it's true the original easily fits the bill - but playtime for both is likely to stretch closer to WAR ON TERROR playtimes (more like 2.5 - 3 hours), which is part of why I didn't bring them up...

But it's really the only one of your top picks I'm familiar with, so I'm not the best source for the final recommendation.

Aside from the fact that everyone I know who's played VIKTORY II liked it a lot, and that you're supposed to be able to control the playing time by which setup you use, I think my job here is done, as it were, but I'll likely be keeping up to see the results...
 
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Tony Chen
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I did mean the newer Shogun, the one ranked in the top 20s.

The point gathering doesn't feel nearly as contrived as Memoir or Twilight Imperium. You get points only from holding cities, and city improvements. So essentially, you get points for holding more territory (and buildings inside that territory). Very intuitive and natural.

There is a lot of forward planning (and some room for bluff), because each round has a set of actions which you select secretly, and only one city can perform each action. The four main categories of actions are:

1. tax money/rice (which will be needed to support your troops and other actions
2. build improvements (worth points if you can hold them)
3. raise army (to hold your cities and/or take over other cities)
4. maneuver army

Regarding Antike, you definitely need to raise troops to defend your nation, but it's more of an economic war game than an all out war game. It's not efficient to engage in a protracted war, or before you research wheels/sailing which allows your troop increased mobility. I wrote a session report.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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I didn't doubt that you meant Shogun - I just think Ikusa is more what the OP is looking for.
 
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Чебурашка, ты настоящий друг!
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For a shorter space-themed game, how about the new Galactic Emperor?
 
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Jason Quintal
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Kung Fu Fighting?

may be taking the "beat on each other" too literally and may not stick... it's a shorter card-based games. May be worth a look:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/13172

 
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