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Subject: The Perfect Game... rss

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Mark Crane
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I have been thinking lately about how there aren't really perfect games, just perfect games for specific contexts. Also, it's not just the game, but being able to play the game in a context that we enjoy. So although this sounds painfully obvious, what most of us are looking for is the perfect game in the right setting, with the ideal players.

Here are my criteria for the "perfect" game (for me):

- plays in less than 1 hour
- has a rich theme, preferably science fiction
- sets up quickly (unlike Heroscape)
- Scales from 2-4 players
- Is fun (not just an exercise in accounting, but a game that elicits laughter or at least happy sounds)
- msrp less than $60
- my kids ask to play it (ages 4-12, but the 9 and 12 year old are the real gamers)
- highly rated (7+)
- builds a narrative (Heroscape, Duel of Ages)
- Not too random, but not with a pasted them (Knizia Zombie games?)
- tasty components that are also functional

This is the type of game that can hit the table at my house, and I realize that by asking for *all* of these things I'm excluding lots of otherwise great games, like Tzaar or Heroscape. Something like Battlestations with plastic minis that plays in an hour and the rules don't make my head explode.

Ok, I'm done rambling, thanks.

(also, are the forums html compliant now? Using the less than symbol nuked my message initially)
 
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craniac wrote:

- plays in less than 1 hour
- has a rich theme, preferably science fiction
- sets up quickly (unlike Heroscape)
- Scales from 2-4 players
- Is fun (not just an exercise in accounting, but a game that elicits laughter or at least happy sounds)
- msrp less than $60
- my kids ask to play it (ages 4-12, but the 9 and 12 year old are the real gamers)
- highly rated (7+)
- builds a narrative (Heroscape, Duel of Ages)
- Not too random, but not with a pasted them (Knizia Zombie games?)
- tasty components that are also functional




Race for the Galaxy tasty components that are also functional
Tikal plays in less than 1 hour
Pandemic plays in less than 1 hour
Wasabi! sets up quickly (unlike Heroscape)
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Mark Crane
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kevintlee wrote:
craniac wrote:

- plays in less than 1 hour
- has a rich theme, preferably science fiction
- sets up quickly (unlike Heroscape)
- Scales from 2-4 players
- Is fun (not just an exercise in accounting, but a game that elicits laughter or at least happy sounds)
- msrp less than $60
- my kids ask to play it (ages 4-12, but the 9 and 12 year old are the real gamers)
- highly rated (7+)
- builds a narrative (Heroscape, Duel of Ages)
- Not too random, but not with a pasted them (Knizia Zombie games?)
- tasty components that are also functional


Race for the Galaxy



I keep loooking at RftG, and realizing that I will never be able to get my kids to play it enough times to really appreciate it, so I bought Dominion instead, which they like but don't clamor for.
 
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Mark Crane
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Pandemic is very close, but it's lacking something, although still a good game.
 
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craniac wrote:
kevintlee wrote:
craniac wrote:

- plays in less than 1 hour
- has a rich theme, preferably science fiction
- sets up quickly (unlike Heroscape)
- Scales from 2-4 players
- Is fun (not just an exercise in accounting, but a game that elicits laughter or at least happy sounds)
- msrp less than $60
- my kids ask to play it (ages 4-12, but the 9 and 12 year old are the real gamers)
- highly rated (7+)
- builds a narrative (Heroscape, Duel of Ages)
- Not too random, but not with a pasted them (Knizia Zombie games?)
- tasty components that are also functional


Race for the Galaxy



really? (oh man)
 
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Mark Crane
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Am I being too dismissive of RftG, or was the suggestion of RftG a joke that I was too earnest to pick up on the first time around?
 
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craniac wrote:
Am I being too dismissive of RftG, or was the suggestion of RftG a joke that I was too earnest to pick up on the first time around?


Its not you its me. I haven't played. Just read all the directions and am waiting to. I have it hyped in my head and I thought for sure it would hit all of those points. I hope I disagree after playing.
 
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Eric Jome
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Closest match I can think of right now is Red November.

I really think you are being too dismissive of Race For The Galaxy.

And lastly, you have some criteria which just don't go together;

- Rich theme
- Short play time/short setup time

Honestly, you seem to like Heroscape... only that's totally dominated by luck, feels very pasted on as far as theme goes, is a lot more than $60...

Maybe Monsterpocalypse? That's got less setup that Heroscape, I suppose you could play cheap (although in the end you won't as it is collectible) and it suits most of the rest of your criteria. Try that.

 
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Mark Crane
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kevintlee wrote:
craniac wrote:
Am I being too dismissive of RftG, or was the suggestion of RftG a joke that I was too earnest to pick up on the first time around?


Its not you its me. I haven't played. Just read all the directions and am waiting to. I have it hyped in my head and I thought for sure it would hit all of those points. I hope I disagree after playing.


Ha ha! I hyped and then de-hyped and didn't buy it. If I could get my wife to play it, it would be awesome, but I think it is like a great classic rock album that you hate the first few listens and then it becomes the Best Thing Ever (until you burn out on it 40 plays later)
 
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Mark Crane
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cosine wrote:
Closest match I can think of right now is Red November.

I really think you are being too dismissive of Race For The Galaxy.

And lastly, you have some criteria which just don't go together;

- Rich theme
- Short play time/short setup time

Honestly, you seem to like Heroscape... only that's totally dominated by luck, feels very pasted on as far as theme goes, is a lot more than $60...

Maybe Monsterpocalypse? That's got less setup that Heroscape, I suppose you could play cheap (although in the end you won't as it is collectible) and it suits most of the rest of your criteria. Try that.



Yes, there are many conflicting criteria. Monsterpocalypse has been on my radar--I will have to check it out and perhaps talk myself into ponying up for some serious plastic.

Ticket to Ride: Zombies that played in 40 minutes would be a good candidate too.

It also occurred to me that I could take a game with a rich theme and break it down into multiple sessions, perhaps.

This post is also really an argument for a dedicated game table, which would solve a few problems.
 
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Chris Funk
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Monsters Menace America, if you can find it (and the kids would probably love this one). Easily done in an hour.

Could try Illuminati... Most games went about an hour and a half, but some have been quicker.

Always liked the Car Wars card game, also good with kids, although they tend to gang up on daddy.

Red November looks great. I just bought it and have barely broken the wrapper on the cards so far. Box says 1-2 hours, though.

Another one I liked enough to buy was HeroCard Galaxy with the two expansions to play 4 people. It was an interesting concept and not real expensive. Think play was under an hour each time I played.

Nexus Ops I've heard is a good choice, but never played it. On a side note, I almost bought NexOps at Origins one year for $8.00 and forgot to go back and get it. I'm kicking myself now as I can't find it under $36.00...

RftG was fun, but with kids, it may be tough to get them started if you've never played before. I bought the game and sat down three times to try and make sense of the rules and never could. I finally played it once this past Sunday and now that I understand the game, it was very fun and I do want to play it again. It's just the rules aren't the best to sit down on the john and read front to back, if you know what I mean.
 
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13 Dead End Drive

Ranks highest in:
- plays in less than 1 hour
- has a theme
- sets up quickly (unlike Heroscape)
- Scales from 2-4 players
- Is fun (not just an exercise in accounting, but a game that elicits laughter or at least happy sounds)
- msrp less than $60
- my kids ask to play it (ages 4-12, but the 9 and 12 year old are the real gamers)
-fun components

There are dice, but you can move anyone's pieces, plus there's deception (a la BSG/Cylons) as you don't want anyone to know whose pieces are yours.


Torres

Fun castle pieces, fast set-up, under an hour, good for 2-4, MSRP under $60, not too random


A stretch, but I'll throw this one out there:

Kingsburg

Fast set-up, scales from 2-4, nice board


 
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craniac wrote:
- plays in less than 1 hour
- has a rich theme, preferably science fiction
- sets up quickly (unlike Heroscape)
- Scales from 2-4 players
- Is fun (not just an exercise in accounting, but a game that elicits laughter or at least happy sounds)
- msrp less than $60
- my kids ask to play it (ages 4-12, but the 9 and 12 year old are the real gamers)
- highly rated (7+)
- builds a narrative (Heroscape, Duel of Ages)
- Not too random, but not with a pasted them (Knizia Zombie games?)
- tasty components that are also functional

Sounds like this was taken directly from a Cosmic Encounter review.
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Big Kat
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First thing that pops into my head that mostly fits your criteria is Galaxy Trucker. But I haven't played it with 9 and 12 year olds.
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Anthony Sr
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I hear Race for the Galaxy is a great game, BUT when I wrote a post asking about feeling the theme, the responses were more or less NO.

 
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Big Kat
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FunkyBlue wrote:

Nexus Ops I've heard is a good choice, but never played it.


Oh yeah...Nexus Ops might work. I would've loved this game as a boy.

It sounds like you're looking for a Heroscape-type game that sets up more quickly. That's the kind of game Nexus Ops is.
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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E Decker wrote:
Sounds like this was taken directly from a Cosmic Encounter review. :)

Is your smiley an "I'm joking" indication? When we play CE, it always takes a lot longer than an hour, and feels random to me (card draws). And how do you play CE with 2 players?

To the Original Poster:

Nexus Ops may be a possibility once you get your game table. Setup time is probably comparable to Settlers of Catan, play time is going to be more like 2 hours. Could be a little too chaotic -- you have card draws, random exploration chits, and dice-based battles. But I find it really fun.

Galaxy Trucker deserves a look, too. Again, there are the potential issues with setup time (resolved by having a game table) and chaos. Play time can be cut by playing one or two rounds instead of the standard three.
 
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Mark Crane
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I owned Nexus Ops back when it was ubiquitous, and gamer (12) wasn't into playing it, so I traded it for something else and of course now it's getting expensive. Whoops.

I need to look more at Cosmic Encounter as my FLGS has the new edition in stock.

I should add that Daytona 500 is the game that most closely fits these criteria in my current collection.

(these are sort of notes to myself, albeit public ones).

This is a useful discussion for me, because it emphasizes how, if you want X, you can't have Y or Z. Sort of an informal decision tree.
 
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Dean Glencross
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E Decker wrote:
craniac wrote:
- plays in less than 1 hour
- has a rich theme, preferably science fiction
- sets up quickly (unlike Heroscape)
- Scales from 2-4 players
- Is fun (not just an exercise in accounting, but a game that elicits laughter or at least happy sounds)
- msrp less than $60
- my kids ask to play it (ages 4-12, but the 9 and 12 year old are the real gamers)
- highly rated (7+)
- builds a narrative (Heroscape, Duel of Ages)
- Not too random, but not with a pasted them (Knizia Zombie games?)
- tasty components that are also functional

Sounds like this was taken directly from a Cosmic Encounter review. :)


I thought that too. Funny thing is I've never played, nor seen a game of, Cosmic Encounter. I've read a few reviews and it does seem to match. Of course, that means I can't really recommend it.
 
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Jae
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craniac wrote:
Here are my criteria for the "perfect" game (for me):
- plays in less than 1 hour
- has a rich theme, preferably science fiction
- sets up quickly (unlike Heroscape)
- Scales from 2-4 players
- Is fun (not just an exercise in accounting, but a game that elicits laughter or at least happy sounds)
- msrp less than $60
- my kids ask to play it (ages 4-12, but the 9 and 12 year old are the real gamers)
- highly rated (7+)
- builds a narrative (Heroscape, Duel of Ages)
- Not too random, but not with a pasted them (Knizia Zombie games?)
- tasty components that are also functional


I can't make any statements about kids.
My child is classically autistic and seems to be the only autistic child related to Boardgamegeek that cannot play games.

Ghost Stories very rich theme and beautiful art. Might be too random.
Space Alert

The under an hour is what really kills this.


 
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Jorge Arroyo
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War for EdaĆ°h seems to be a very tactic and thematic card war game. The base set is for just two players, but with two sets the game becomes multi-player...
 
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Chris Funk
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Actually, Formula D may be a good choice, too. You can do single laps (which is what we normally do when we play) and be done in under an hour easy with 4 people. And you can snag it for under $40.00 if you look in the right places.

I figure race cars... Boys... Should be a lock.
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Mark Crane
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The 12 year old (11 at the time) hated the downtime between turns. His hypergaming little brother liked it (we had Formula D with an extra die). I think Das Motorsportspiel would appeal to them but I am balking at the price.

 
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Scott Nicholson
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How about Nexus Ops?

I'd say it's the weakest on narrative, but I'd put it alongside heroscape for narrative. I think it hits everything else you have there.

Only problem is that it's out of print, but still available used for $30.

 
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Chris Funk
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With 10 people, yes, FD has downtime. With four? Not so much.

As for the price of Das Motorsportspiel, I paid about that much for Pitchcar.

Speaking of which, if you can forgive the price, Pitchcar is great for this thread, too.

Except for the Sci-Fi theme.

But if you buy the jump extension, it could be sci-fi because no car jumps like the Dukes of Hazard and keeps on driving like that.

Except KITT. But that just confirms the Sci-Fi-ness.
 
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