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Subject: Newbies - Where to after the gateway games? rss

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Brian Jacobsen
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So we (25/f & 27/m) are newbies to this world of gaming. A few months ago we went to the local game store looking for something new. We were shocked to see all the board games that we had never heard of. We were given some recommendations and decided to give Ticket to Ride a shot. We brought it home and had our gaming group over that night. Everyone loved it and we got addicted. Over the next few months we picked up the rest of the TTR series. We purchased Carcassonne recently and really like that as well.

My question is this, where do we go from here? We have been looking at games like Puerto Rico, Power Grid, and Agricola among others but just arent sure what is going to be right.

One of the reasons we like TTR & Carcassonne is the fact that we can play at home alone or we can play with our friends and family. So with that in mind do you have any suggestions?



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Chris Bailey
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Look at the top 100. Read about the games and pick something that looks interesting. There are a lot of reviews and ratings to help you make a choice.
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Mat Nowak
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The games you mentioned (Puerto Rico, Power Grid, etc) are a little meatier and while great and all, it may be too large of a jump from TTR and Carcassone.

I'd go with Catan. A great classic with a lot of replayability and fun factor. It's also very addictive and different from the games you already like but easily taught and played, and within the same gateway realm.
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Lynda Shea
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I'd also second Settlers of Catan. However, off the top of my head, I'd like to recommend Alhambra, Thurn and Taxis, San Juan, Yspahan, Saint Petersburg, Thebes, Notre Dame and Caylus Magna Carta. It's a good variety and some contain mechanics similar to games you like as well as an opportunity to grow into the Euros a bit more - they can also be played with just 2 people or more. Agricola, Power Grid, and Puerto Rico are very involved and a bigger jump. If you goto an individual game's page and scroll down to "Statistics", it will indicate the game's weight - complexity/meatiness factor, if you will. If you compare that to the games you like or feel comfortable playing, it will give you some idea ahead of time as to their relative complexity.

Hope this helps and happy gaming! meeple
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Craig Somerton
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Welcome on-board.

I suppose it all depends on what type of game you want?

Do you want easy or complex? Light or heavy? Two player or for a group?

My personal recommendations are:

Two Player = Lost Cities or Battle Line or LOTR the Confrontation

Family (fun) = Alhambra, Saboteur, Citadels, San Juan, Settlers of Catan

Intense = Puerto Rico, Power Grid.

But again, it all comes down to what you like/want.
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Lynda Shea
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[q="anomander64"]Two Player = Lost Cities or Battle Line

Family (fun) = Alhambra, Citadels, San Juan, Settlers of Catan[q]

My family and gaming friends enjoy all of these games.

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Kris Verbeeck
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Well if Power Grid interests you, pick it up.

I play with non gamers and they are all impressed by it.

The game will last longer than TtR. The rules aren't so difficult and after a couple of rounds you will get going. If you want to play it on gamenight I suggest you play it first with f25. you can stop at the start of phase 2 if you want . Do the replenishments needed for phase two (they are different). After that both of you will have a good idea of how the game plays and this will make it easier to explain.

Probably you have to remove plants with a low number from the market (you can have three plants in your possesion maximum and only have to remove one if you want to buy a better plant- meaning that you don't have to remove the plant with a four on it from your hand if someone has 5 cities. Someone I played with thought it worked that way)
You will see how the turnorder can play a big part.
You will see all the mechanisms in a action : The auction, the buying of the resourcse, the buying of the cities with the paying of the connection costs, the fueling of the plants, the payout, the replenishment of the resources. The new available plants in the market.

That may seem much but after you have played a couple of turns everything falls into place and comes very natural.
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Where to next? Easy. Find a board game club in your area (meetup.com is a great resource for this). Join and learn the games, then buy the ones you like.

Intermediate step: go to a local gaming convention that offers board gaming and allow the fine people that run the events there to teach you their games. Any that you like put into the buy column. If there is no local group in your area, this is a good first step and will allow you to meet locals and possibly start your own group.

Good luck, and hope this helps.
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Robert Washington

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bjacobsen0923 wrote:
So with that in mind do you have any suggestions?


The 1st thing I can't suggest strongly enough is to NOT move up the complexity ladder too quickly,as many here will likely advise. I know many people who went straight from TTR and CARCASSONE to the likes of POWER GRID and PUERTO RICO with no problem, but I also know many examples of people who went too far too fast and wound up turning off one or more of their 'gaming pool' from that particular game and sometimes gaming as a whole. Trying new things and going whole hog is great, but if it comes at the expense of potential new victims enthusiastic opponents,that's not so great. Also, many of the best 'in-between' games have the same kinds of mechanics, strategy and decision-making the 'deep-dish' stuff has in a less-complicated form, so they can help TO teach those ideas and make it easier to move up later on - CITADELS can teach a lot about the "role selection" mechanics that come up in PUERTO RICO and CUBA, and COLOSSEUM has many of the stratgies of POWER GRID and PRINCES OF FLORENCE.

And really great games that are for sure not as complex as POWER GRID or DIE MACHER but deeper than TTR are all over the place. Some of my favorites include:

For Sale - A must - fast, addictive and an excellent primer on the mechanics of auctions.

The Bridges of Shangri-La - This can be taught in minutes, but offers very challenging strategy and interesting 'semi-cooperative' mechanics - players have to work together for common benefit to some extent, but eventually there's only one winner.

Quo Vadis? - A Roman-themed semi-abstract game with many of the qualities of BRIDGES - semi-cooperative and simple, yet deep.

Thebes- Just a little more complex than TTR, and at least as interesting/fun, with some very unique mechanics.

Aquädukt - This is a very fun, fast-moving game with a lot of replayability and some consistently interesting decisions to make.

Citadels - awesome game of bluff, counterbluff, and guesswork that's straightforward and simple yet consistently interesting.

Evo - This and those that follow are just a step above the previous in complexity - not quite PUERTO RICO/POWER GRID, but more than the others above. But like the others I'm going to recommend, all the more complex elements are very intuitive and easily understood for that reason.

Colosseum - I'd strongly recommend this instead of POWER GRID - it has many of the same elements, but is simpler and more fun imo, and offers both more interaction and more 'friendly' interaction at that.

Nexus Ops - Out of print but still widely available, a 'Wargame' featuring day-glo figurines of units that look like they're heavily inspired by old cartoon shows (specifically, THE HERCULOIDS), i.e. a wargame without all the blood and guts elements some women find distasteful.

Evo - Awesome fun game; just a bit too complex to be a dead-on 'gateway' game, but with(yet again) very intuitive complex elements.

Blue Moon City - Just plain awesome.

COLOSSEUM's the 'monster' at 2-3 hours average, with EVO at 1 1/2 - 2; all the rest are generally over in an hour or less.


And definitely keep looking; this is just off the top of my head - you don't have to go straight from the easy stuff to the brainburners overnight.
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Ken F
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Well, since you're requesting games that are good with 2 so you can play at home, yet expand out for more player when necessary, you might try Goa if you can find it, or if you don't mind low player interaction, Thurn and Taxis.
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John Lyons Beck
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bjacobsen0923 wrote:

One of the reasons we like TTR & Carcassonne is the fact that we can play at home alone or we can play with our friends and family.


This is the most indicative sentence in your post, as to what game you're looking for. From what I understand, you want a two-person game (for home, between you & your SO) that can also be brought out when you have friends and/or family over who may or may not be gamers, and who may or may not be adults. TTR & Carcassonne certainly are that kind of game. You're also not the first people to find yourself in this situation, I've known other couples like you with this desire, so these recommendations come not from what I like to play, but what fit for them. So instead of adding to the list of games submitted above, I'll edit it some.

Agricola is the game you want. It works for any amount of people, and has incredible re-playability. This should be your next purchase. Now, when you first open the box you might be dismayed w/ the amount of rules compared to TTR & Carc. But that is it's beauty: There are several level of rules that you can choose for your level of desired play. Once you master the easy, kid-friendly game, you can move on through the various decks of greater complexity & challenge. You don't have to buy another game, it's already there!

Citadels is a must-have. It's inexpensive, small (put in a purse & brought out at a friend's house), it works for 2-8, it's simple and yet has tremendous replay value.

Catan is a classic for a reason: it fits into what so many people want in a game. It's not the best for two, for that you should get Catan Card Game. However, it works great for when company comes over, the amount of player interaction is what makes it fun. Plus, there are plenty of expansions if you want to 'branch out' from there, just like in Carcassonne.

Personally, I would eschew San Juan & Saint Petersburg, as they are both outclassed by Race for the Galaxy, which I feel has more in the way of variety & re-playability. The main drawback of all three games is that you can't play w/ more than 4.

Puerto Rico, while an awesome game, doesn't really work for two. Yes, there is a 2-player variant out there, but in re-playability, it fails somewhat. It is, however, a blast for 3 or more. This goes double for Power Grid. Get these games once you've built up a 'fan base' of friends who've become gamers, and then break these out.

When that happens, you'll be in a position to look over the other games suggested here & elsewhere on the Geek, and be able to know what it is you're looking for & what you want in a game.

Good luck & good gaming!



 
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Dennis Leung
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Welcome to the new world of boardgaming! My girlfriend and I were newbies recently too, so we know what you're going through. It's a pretty exciting time. Like you, some of the first games that we played were Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride. Here are some other games that we got into afterwards.

If you like games that are good for two, but can handle more players for when your friends stop by:

Alhambra: Similar tile building as Carcassonne, but now you have to buy the tiles you need with the right currency to build your palace.
Thurn and Taxis: Somewhat similar to Ticket to Ride, you're building routes across Germany, and trying to do it better than your opponent.
Bohnanza: We haven't played this two player, but this is a fun trading game with lots of people.
San Juan: The "card game version of Puerto Rico", is a nice card game that works for two or more. Try to build your colony with buildings that give you special actions
Pandemic: Something very different, this is a cooperative game where everyone is on the same side trying to save the world from diseases.
If you like traditional card games, the Mystery Rummy series is pretty cool. They add some new twists to familiar games. We like Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper with two, but it can handle more.

Don't forget the the Carcassonne expansions (we like Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders) that give the game some new flavor, as well as new Ticket to Ride versions (we like Ticket to Ride: Switzerland which is an expansion for just two/three players).

If you're looking for games that are just for two:

Lost Cities: A simple card game, but very addictive.
Jambo: A card game where you trade goods in an African marketplace and build utilities that give you special powers.
Catan Card Game: The "card game version of Settlers of Catan" is a card game where you build your country, collect resources, and attack your opponent. Note, I don't recommend the classic Catan for two players.
Mr. Jack: A brain-burning detective game where one person plays Jack while the other player tries to catch him using characters that have special powers.

Agricola is now our drug of choice, and while it's a great game, I would recommend trying some more intermediate level games first to ease your way in. There's lots of good games out there, so there's no rush.

Hope this helps!
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Settlers of Catan and Thebes are great games but I don't think they are that much of a step up from where you already are. I would consider them as variety to what you have already experienced.

I always suggest Pandemic for the tight design and uniqueness of the cooperative system. Mr. Jack is a solid, fun and unique 2-player game but Pandemic is better.

If you want to go a step up in complexity but still have rules that are sensible and not overly complicated, you cannot go wrong with Agricola and Puerto Rico.

For something in between, Kingsburg or Stone Age would be strong options.
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John W
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Here is the "Next step after gateway" geeklist for your perusal.

Also, I'd think Ra, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects, or Kingsburg would be more obvious than most of the suggestions here (other than of course Settlers of Catan). Consider Through the Desert, as well.
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If you're willing to Print and Play I'd rec'

Sword and Sail
Hoyuk
King for a Day
Big Game Hunters of the Universe
Hour of Glory: Stronghold Kit
My Band
It's All Chinese to Me!
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Jonny Lawless
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Case Blue for sure.
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Greg Jones
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Those are good choices. I would rank them thusly:

1. Power Grid. The game is slightly complex, but the mechanics are intuitive. You buy power plants. You buy fuel for your plants. You power cities. You get paid.

2. Agricola. There are more rules to this one, but what to do is pretty intuitive. You get resources, you build some stuff, breed some animals, plant some fields, have babies.

3. Puerto Rico. For me this was just too unintuitive as a beginning gamer. What do you mean I have to ship my coffee? But I was going to trade it for big bucks. Ok, I'll ship it, fine. How much is it worth? One point?! But your corn was worth the same! This game doesn't make sense!

Since you haven't played a lot of Eurogames, my advice would be to stick with the top 10 for your next purchases. Ordinarily I like to make recommendations where people say, "I like this and this, what else would I like?" But since you have not played many games you can't say which ones you've already played are your favorites. With no other information to go on, one can only say that the top 10 are the games that the most people liked. That's no guarantee that you'll like them. But it's a decent bet of where to start. After you play some of them you can come back to the Recommendations forum and say which ones you liked and which ones you didn't, and what you liked about them and didn't. Then we can give better recommendations for where to go next.

Out of the top 10, the three you picked out are probably some of the least complex, which is good. Have fun.
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Bryan Maxwell
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Mateui wrote:


I'd go with Catan. A great classic with a lot of replayability and fun factor. It's also very addictive and different from the games you already like but easily taught and played, and within the same gateway realm.


Agreed. Settlers was the gateway game for my wife and I.
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I suggest looking at the "Avg. Game Weight" rating for whatever game you consider. Each game's page has this rating. If you want to play with "non-gamers," family, etc. you probably want to stay under 3. The scale goes from 1-5.

Also, before you buy, download the rules if they are available (many game's pages have links to rules). Or read reviews that explain the rules. That way you can see what you're getting into.

There are lots of good suggestions in this list. If I had to choose one, I'd say Settlers of Catan. But in the end, it's whatever is interesting to the people you play with that counts.

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reapersaurus wrote:
Here is the "Next step after gateway" geeklist for your perusal.

This is not a great list of recommendations, in my opinion.

Check out what people are playing now. (Remember to consider the game play weight too.):
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/plays/bygame/start/2008-08-01/e...

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Brian Jacobsen
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WOW! You guys are good.

I am going to have read this list another time or two, so much to take in.

Great suggestions from everyone it looks like.

We have a local meetin boise group that we are trying to get connected with. We are rsvp'd for a few of the upcoming events there. Our local gamestore has a boardgame night every tuesday. We havent done that yet either, I think we are a little intimidated. The staff there has been extremely helpful and welcoming to us, we just dont want to look like idiots to the serious dudes that frequent the back room. Mostly we are just afraid that we may not be "geek enough" ;)


Again, thank you everyone for your responses

I am planning on keeping up with these boards the best I can and eventually jumping in when I have something worthwhile to contribute.


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Lynda Shea
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cull wrote:
reapersaurus wrote:
Here is the "Next step after gateway" geeklist for your perusal.

This is not a great list of recommendations, in my opinion.

Check out what people are playing now. (Remember to consider the game play weight too.):
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/plays/bygame/start/2008-08-01/e...



Here is a recent Geeklist: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/33650 that is great for deseminating the avg. game weight/complexity of the the top 100 games and grouping them accordingly.

I found this list very interesting, because I could definitely see a correlation and could gauge the games that I like to play to their relative complexity. When I started going to local boardgame gatherings a few years ago, I tried some of the heavier games too early in an effort to keep up with some of the other gamers. It was a bit frustrating. However, when I began playing some of the more intermediate offerings and got used to the different mechanics and strategies, my confidence increased and I explored more options including those that originally frustrated me - I enjoy them now. Basically, it comes down to your own comfort level...and I wouldn't be so quick to jump to the heavier options right away as a newbie when there's so many other games to explore.

Take all our advice for what it's worth and I hope your boardgame time with friends and family continues to be adventurous and fun! meeple
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David Dixon
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I'll second everyone's opinion on Settlers of Catan and someone's suggestion of Ra. You can't play Ra with only two, but its a good one for groups--it doesn't have a whole lot of decisions each turn, but the decisions you do have are very very very important.

I'd also suggest King's Gate. Its fun, appropriately deep, scales very well, and doesn't take a long time to play. Its also only about five bucks, which is good.

Nexus Ops, as previously mentioned, is a good one as well.

And now, going in a completely different direction...

Although others will probably disagree, I don't find Doom all that complex, and its just a ton of fun to play, and gots theme with a capital T. Read the reviews--its most definitely not for every gaming group, but if you've got some folks who appreciate a nail-biting, tough, emotional game experience, you'd be hard pressed to beat it.

Diis
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Steve Duff
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Diis wrote:
You can't play Ra with only two


Sure you can, works fine. May not be the same experience as with more, but it's still fun.
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Chris Hansen
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jonnylawless wrote:
Case Blue for sure.

They are looking for what to play AFTER gateway games. Why are you offering just another gateway game?
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