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Subject: Too many choices - help me decide rss

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Janet M
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I'm still debating games to purchase. Goal is to buy 3 new games to play with my children over the holidays (husband will not join in). Every time I look on this forum I find new games I'd like to try.

Games should play well with 4, bonus if they also work with 3 (or 2). We've played and enjoyed a number of Gateway games. Youngest child is 13 so not looking for kids games.

Current ideas:

Probables:
Thebes
Kingsburg

Others I looked at include:
Cleopatra & Society of Architects
Jamaica - not sure there's enough game here to justify the cost even if components are high quality - gameplay more important to me
Aquaretto
Mission Red Planet
Ra (not currently available)
Stone Age (don't know why but does not appeal)
Pandemic (don't think a cooperative game will work well for us)

I'd like to get Power Grid. I've spent some time reviewing rules and feel we'd enjoy playing but would this be too difficult to learn?

I'd buy more than 3 but want to make sure we have enough time to learn/enjoy these (in addition to playing games we already have) It would be good if the 3 provided variety in gameplay and theme.

Unfortunately I don't have any friends to play games with and don't know of any local groups I'd feel comfortable showing up at, so this is my only opportunity to enjoy games.

Any advice (including alternative suggestions) appreciated. I want to submit an order online in the next day or two to make sure I receive it in time.
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Chris Ferejohn
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Aquaretto is a good game with lots of interesting decisions, but teenage boys may be turned off by the "cute little animals" theme. Teenage girls, on the other hand, may be drawn to it.

What sort of games do you play with your kids currently?
 
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Ryan Stripling
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I think Stone Age would be a good choice. It would be a gateway for worker placement games while not being too difficult to understand or to play well. Also, it is a less stressful game than other worker placement games because you typically can feed your people easily and you choose between good options to find the best, so that is better for younger teens. It's a good game and worth the buy.

I haven't played the other games on your list except Power Grid, so I can only comment on that. I like the game, but it is a little more of a gamer's game than Stone Age. It isn't that difficult to understand, but it does take a little longer, so you'll have to consider that before buying. Before you turn away from the game because of my comments, though, you should know that my family is just being turned on to games, so don't take their reactions as typical.

Also, have you tried Settlers of Catan? If not, certainly buy it. It's essential to any game collection, especially if you are looking for gateway games.
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Janet M
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You may be right about the cute animals - my daughter would appreciate it but my son (13) may not. It just seemed a little different from games we already have. I suppose Coloretto might be an alternative but generally games with a theme have a higher appeal.

As my daughters are in college we don't have much opportunity to play but last year I remember we enjoyed playing:
Ticket to Ride
Bohnanza
For Sale
Vegas Showdown
Pirates Cove
Leonardo da Vinci
Around the world in 80 days
Arkadia
Amazonas
Tikal
plus some party type games such as Wits & Wagers and Cranium
 
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Janet M
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We do have Settlers - in fact we played it over Thanksgiving when my older daughter was home. We enjoy it although seems to work for us better with 3 than 4.

Regarding Stone Age I will reconsider. Is there much interaction/confrontation between players? Not sure that 'less stressful' increases the appeal - we are all quite competitive.

I don't think the length of Power Grid is necessarily a negative - it should still be playable in around 2 hours (after the first 'learning game') How hard would it be for me to teach given that I've not played it before with others?
 
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Dominion

and,

Pandemic
(if you don't think co-op is for you, then that means you need this even more - think of it as a team building exercise)
:)
 
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Sean
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Power Grid follows a very logical pattern throughout the game, it is easy to teach but there are a few little rules that you would need to keep in mind during the game otherwise it could go haywire. If you are open to competitive systems then an auction/buying game like Power Grid you may enjoy. Also try Colosseum or Amun-Re.
Catan is a staple of any budding collection, but I enjoyed The Settlers of the Stone Age more, it has a bit more to it than the regular Settlers.
If you don't mind some luck in your games then Thebes would be a good one, also try Battue: Storm of the Horse Lords, it's a little deeper than you first imagine though still quite a bit of luck, but plays in an hour, little downtime and simple rules.
Stone Age is good, I really enjoy it, and if worker placement is the thing for you then try Cuba or The Pillars of the Earth, both similar games and contain beautiful boards. Also no recommendation would be complete without mentioning Agricola.
Perhaps an economic engine would appeal to you, something like Brass: Lancashire, Hamburgum, or Imperial.
One of the hottest games around at the moment is Dominion, obviously just a card game but seemingly endless combinations of ways to beat your opponents.
What about The Princes of Florence, Khronos, Louis XIV or Tomb?
 
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Mike Frantz
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Thebes is an excellent family game, but I'm concerned with your comment regarding how competitive you all are. Thebes is more of an "experience" game than a cutthroat strategic/tactical excercise. The winner of the game is pretty much random (yes there are "some" meaningful decisions, but if someone gets lucky on the digging they will win the game). The game works great for my family which included a 9 year old and a 7 year old. By the time they are in college and high school, I suspect the appeal would have dropped.

Power Grid...I'm torn on that one. One of my favorite gamer games. I love it when I play against other skilled players. The reason I enjoy it that way is because it is important that all the players understand the trade-offs they are making on the decisions. Do I power the city to get more money, but move up on the turn order? Should I buy up all the coal even though I don't need it to force Bob to pay more? How high do I "push" the bid for this plant that I dont' really want to make sure Bill pays a fair price? Etc. I love those decisions, but they aren't terribly transparent/obvious. In most of the games you've played so far the decisions, while difficult, have fairly obvious tradeoffs. That's what makes them good gateway games...and your list of games you played last year are mostly gateway games. If you don't mind exploring Power Grid together then it might work out great...but I worry you'll get done and think, meh. Let me stress that's not too "difficult" (although learning Power Grid straight from the rulebook is daunting..there are some word choices that are ugly) it's that the choices are a bit opaque.

Stone Age, St. Petersberg, Vikings, Puerto Rico (boy you sure don't see this great game get recommended much anymore), Dominion, Carcassonne, Louis IVX.
 
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Janet M
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chuckles2000 wrote:
Thebes is an excellent family game, but I'm concerned with your comment regarding how competitive you all are. Thebes is more of an "experience" game than a cutthroat strategic/tactical excercise. The winner of the game is pretty much random (yes there are "some" meaningful decisions, but if someone gets lucky on the digging they will win the game). The game works great for my family which included a 9 year old and a 7 year old. By the time they are in college and high school, I suspect the appeal would have dropped.

Power Grid...I'm torn on that one. One of my favorite gamer games. I love it when I play against other skilled players. The reason I enjoy it that way is because it is important that all the players understand the trade-offs they are making on the decisions. Do I power the city to get more money, but move up on the turn order? Should I buy up all the coal even though I don't need it to force Bob to pay more? How high do I "push" the bid for this plant that I dont' really want to make sure Bill pays a fair price? Etc. I love those decisions, but they aren't terribly transparent/obvious. In most of the games you've played so far the decisions, while difficult, have fairly obvious tradeoffs. That's what makes them good gateway games...and your list of games you played last year are mostly gateway games. If you don't mind exploring Power Grid together then it might work out great...but I worry you'll get done and think, meh. Let me stress that's not too "difficult" (although learning Power Grid straight from the rulebook is daunting..there are some word choices that are ugly) it's that the choices are a bit opaque.

Stone Age, St. Petersberg, Vikings, Puerto Rico (boy you sure don't see this great game get recommended much anymore), Dominion, Carcassonne, Louis IVX.


Yes my kids are high school/college age - some luck is good, but prefer this does not totally control the outcome. On the other hand I like games where players need to make tactical choices based on the luck they are dealt, rather than a game strategy that needs to be developed over the entire game - does that make sense?

Regarding Power Grid, maybe we are ready to explore a more difficult game together - the only one who may not enjoy it would be my 13 year old son if he feels he cannot win. As I said I have reviewed both the rules and other FAQ for the game - if I can't play it with the family I'd like to find another group to try it out with

I have Puerto Rico and need to bring it out again - it was too complex when introduced several years ago

I'll look into the others you suggest
 
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Janet M
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Heliconia wrote:
Power Grid follows a very logical pattern throughout the game, it is easy to teach but there are a few little rules that you would need to keep in mind during the game otherwise it could go haywire. If you are open to competitive systems then an auction/buying game like Power Grid you may enjoy. Also try Colosseum or Amun-Re.
Catan is a staple of any budding collection, but I enjoyed The Settlers of the Stone Age more, it has a bit more to it than the regular Settlers.
If you don't mind some luck in your games then Thebes would be a good one, also try Battue: Storm of the Horse Lords, it's a little deeper than you first imagine though still quite a bit of luck, but plays in an hour, little downtime and simple rules.
Stone Age is good, I really enjoy it, and if worker placement is the thing for you then try Cuba or The Pillars of the Earth, both similar games and contain beautiful boards. Also no recommendation would be complete without mentioning Agricola.
Perhaps an economic engine would appeal to you, something like Brass: Lancashire, Hamburgum, or Imperial.
One of the hottest games around at the moment is Dominion, obviously just a card game but seemingly endless combinations of ways to beat your opponents.
What about The Princes of Florence, Khronos, Louis XIV or Tomb?


Yes, I like the idea of an auction game - I think these would be successful with us - will look at the others you suggest but bear in mind we will never have more than 4 players
Thanks for the additional suggestions - it just makes my decision more difficult - I see why the people on here buy so many games - there's just so many to choose from. I wish I had a gamer group so I could play some of these without buying them all
 
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Hank Panethiere
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Intrigue ... if you want indirect vicious conflict look no further, Great game, but everyoe HAS to remember it is just a GAME.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/74709
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Don Barree
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Of the games on your list I think Thebes is the best fit. It plays equally well with 3 or 4. Kingsburg is also an O.K. choice but I personally don't care for it with 3 players. Same goes for Mission: Red Planet. I've only played Cleopatra with5 so I don't know how it scales. I really like Power Grid but have only played it 4 and 5 player. I would guess it still plays well with 3 but can't say for sure.

Some games not on your list that are fairly easy to learn and that I consider to be good games for 3 or 4 players are Arkadia, Ticket to Ride, Agricola, Carcassonne, Taj Mahal and Thurn and Taxis.

Good luck deciding.
 
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Henrik Lantz
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I think you are right on target with many of the games you mention. I haven't played Thebes, but it scored consistently high in game tests in a number of Swedish newspapers in the recent weeks. It was tested by gamers and non-gamers and everyone really enjoyed it. Games with wide appeal are good to have around!

Kingsburg is one of my favorite games, easy to get into but definitely not simple. Perfect for your group I think. Looks great as well!

Stone Age and Mission: Red Planet are two other really strong titles. Mission: Red Planet had more direct player interaction than Stone Age. In M: RP it is quite possible to kill your opponents astronauts or to blow up their spaceships! Combine this with a enjoyable role selection a'la Citadels and you've got a really good game. Stone Age is is also great, but not as unique as M: RP. It takes familiar mechanisms and combines them in a very balanced and fun way. Good stuff!

Cleopatra is lighter than the other games I've mentioned, but also quite good. Considering the large age span you've got, this would be a very good game to have around. But it is not too simple, don't worry about that.

How about Galaxy Trucker for something very different?
 
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Henrik Lantz
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jpm24 wrote:
I wish I had a gamer group so I could play some of these without buying them all


Have you tried looking for game groups in your area here at the geek? I noticed in your profile that you are from Pennsylvania, and a quick check in http://www.boardgamegeek.com/forum/20/forum/1 reveals at least one active game group there (eastern parts). I have no idea about distances in Pennsylvania, perhaps it is too far to go, but do take a look there and if you can't find anything, post and ask for gaming buddies in your area. There's bound to be someone around!

Good luck!
 
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Janet M
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Bolger wrote:
jpm24 wrote:
I wish I had a gamer group so I could play some of these without buying them all


Have you tried looking for game groups in your area here at the geek? I noticed in your profile that you are from Pennsylvania, and a quick check in http://www.boardgamegeek.com/forum/20/forum/1 reveals at least one active game group there (eastern parts). I have no idea about distances in Pennsylvania, perhaps it is too far to go, but do take a look there and if you can't find anything, post and ask for gaming buddies in your area. There's bound to be someone around!

Good luck!


Thanks for the link. I've found mention of 2 groups in the region - but I'm not sure I have the confidence to show up to meet with an unknown group. And would I fit in with these groups - aren't most primarily male?
 
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Janet M
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dbarree wrote:
Of the games on your list I think Thebes is the best fit. It plays equally well with 3 or 4. Kingsburg is also an O.K. choice but I personally don't care for it with 3 players. Same goes for Mission: Red Planet. I've only played Cleopatra with5 so I don't know how it scales. I really like Power Grid but have only played it 4 and 5 player. I would guess it still plays well with 3 but can't say for sure.

Some games not on your list that are fairly easy to learn and that I consider to be good games for 3 or 4 players are Arkadia, Ticket to Ride, Agricola, Carcassonne, Taj Mahal and Thurn and Taxis.

Good luck deciding.


Thanks for your input. Most important is playability with 4 as that will be the most usual. I already have some of your other recommendations - Arkadia, Ticket to Ride, and Thurn and Taxis.


Bolger wrote:
I think you are right on target with many of the games you mention. I haven't played Thebes, but it scored consistently high in game tests in a number of Swedish newspapers in the recent weeks. It was tested by gamers and non-gamers and everyone really enjoyed it. Games with wide appeal are good to have around!

Kingsburg is one of my favorite games, easy to get into but definitely not simple. Perfect for your group I think. Looks great as well!

Stone Age and Mission: Red Planet are two other really strong titles. Mission: Red Planet had more direct player interaction than Stone Age. In M: RP it is quite possible to kill your opponents astronauts or to blow up their spaceships! Combine this with a enjoyable role selection a'la Citadels and you've got a really good game. Stone Age is is also great, but not as unique as M: RP. It takes familiar mechanisms and combines them in a very balanced and fun way. Good stuff!

Cleopatra is lighter than the other games I've mentioned, but also quite good. Considering the large age span you've got, this would be a very good game to have around. But it is not too simple, don't worry about that.

How about Galaxy Trucker for something very different?


Thanks. Glad to hear that I seem to be thinking on the right lines. Maybe there's no wrong game to buy - just need to take the plunge and try them.
 
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I seriously play power grid with my wife and 5 year old daughter and she follows the game well.She knows when its time to bid or buy resources and when to expand her network.Of course we help with the choices because she wants to but it all but its an easy game to grasp once you have the turn order down and the silly little rules that come up during certain times of the game.
 
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Hi Janet,
You sound a bit like me, playing games with kids as hubby does his thing elsewhere. I too have yet to find a group to play with, but that does not stop me from hoarding games. It sounds like you have a very nice collection already. I have Thebes and Kingsburg, and prefer Kingsburg for some reason, but both are very good games. I really like my Cleopatra game, but don't play it enough, better with 3+ players. If you can get it cheap, some places have it for $25, I would get that. I thought it had a lot going for it, but it is a lighter game. Stone Age was a hit with my 13 year old, I think you would be pleasantly surprised with it, but it can be hard to get over a negative feeling you have about a game. I get that with Aquaretto, because I have Zooloretto and that fell a bit flat for me.
All your choices sound quite good, and what one person likes another might not, so you'll have to wing it a bit.
Have you ever tried Taluva ? I don't know why, but I adore that game, but can't really play it with my kids yet, too young to get it and be worthy opponents, but your family should be able to. And it isn't expensive. Just my 2 cents worth. Have fun, wish I could order some games now, boo hoo.cry
 
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*Disclaimer* I've only just begun to scratch the surface of being a beginner geek without a gaming group.

Power Grid - I just played a game with the nephews (10 & 13) last week, first game of PG for everybody and had a blast. I would recommend watching Board Games with Scott (episode 20, found here: http://www.boardgameswithscott.com/?p=35, as well as printing out the player aid found here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/file/info/13186). We only played step one to keep the game short (about 30min) just in case it was a dud but they wanted to play again just as soon as we finished!

But we couldn't because the neices (6-8) wanted to play another game of Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot which, depending on what you want out of a game can be a blast or a bore. KB's is a game of pure, grade A luck, but with the age of your boys, who knows, something to look at the reviews and session reports and determine for yourself. (it's more of a have the boys buddies over and laugh (alot!))

The other game I would recommend is Carcassonne. This plays really well with 2,3, or 4. I haven't played it with more than 4 though. Mainly it's just me and the wife when we play this one and it has seen the table (or floor) more times than any other game in my tiny collection. Fun, and at times extremely competitive. It also plays better IMO with Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders and Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: The River II, just make sure you buy/make/borrow a shoe bag or other type of cloth bag to draw the tiles from!

Good stuff! Happy gaming!

TOH
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Your preferences seem to tend towards Euros, but since you asked about direct confrontation, how about Nexus Ops (out of print, but there are a lot of copies floating around)? A 60-90 minute game of area control, combat, dice rolling, and secret missions. No player eliminations. Glow in the dark pieces which the 13 year old are bound to think are pretty cool (assuming he is still in a space where he things anything associated with the words "board game" and "mom" are cool).
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Henrik Lantz
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jpm24 wrote:

Thanks for the link. I've found mention of 2 groups in the region - but I'm not sure I have the confidence to show up to meet with an unknown group. And would I fit in with these groups - aren't most primarily male?


It is worth it. I mean, there are two possible outcomes. One, you don't like it and decide to never come back. Two, you find new friends, get to play great games and have something to look forward to every week/month. At worst you lose a few hours of your time, perhaps feel a little bit uncomfortable, but at best you get what you said you were looking for.

I have tried this a little bit myself, and while I certainly dont like or "click" with everyone I have met, there are always some people that I really like and feel comfortable with.

Send a geekmail to the organizers and ask what kind of group they have. Perhaps there are more women there?

Just my two cents. Good luck in your search!
 
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Janet M
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cferejohn wrote:
Your preferences seem to tend towards Euros, but since you asked about direct confrontation, how about Nexus Ops (out of print, but there are a lot of copies floating around)? A 60-90 minute game of area control, combat, dice rolling, and secret missions. No player eliminations. Glow in the dark pieces which the 13 year old are bound to think are pretty cool (assuming he is still in a space where he things anything associated with the words "board game" and "mom" are cool).


Good idea - another game we already have. Have enjoyed playing with my son but my girls refuse to play and just mess about with the pieces.
And you're right he's beyond the age where doing something with mom is cool. But anything to get him away from his video games for a while is worth trying.
 
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Steve Duff
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jpm24 wrote:
Have enjoyed playing with my son but my girls refuse to play and just mess about with the pieces.


Pandemic might change that, it often draws in folks who don't like traditional games.

And it's still a fantastic game on it's own for gamers.

Not sure why Stone Age doesn't appeal, it's one of the best games mentioned here. You mentioned you're competitive, Stone Age has plenty of that, it's delicious fun to see your opponent's plans require a particular resource or tile, and putting your workers there to take it away from him. devil
 
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Janet M
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
jpm24 wrote:
Have enjoyed playing with my son but my girls refuse to play and just mess about with the pieces.


Pandemic might change that, it often draws in folks who don't like traditional games.

And it's still a fantastic game on it's own for gamers.

devil


I was speaking specifically of Nexus Ops which my daughters refuse to play - they enthusiastically join in other games - I think its the SciFi theme and game pieces themselves that cause the reaction to this one.
 
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Steve Duff
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Ah I see. Well then get Pandemic anyway.
 
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