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Subject: Newbie seeking help with game collection rss

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Nathan Clark
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I am new to this board gaming world, but after buying Ticket to Ride I am 100% hooked and now want to obtain a versatile selection of games. The following is what I have ascertained as my choices, and I would really welcome your comments feedback on this and what choice you would make

1. I want a game for me and the wife to play and am thinking:
a. Lost Cities
b. Carcassonne
c. Mr Jack (although I think this one may be too intense for my non-gaming wife?)
d. Others?

2. I want another (have TtR) good family game to play with my kids when they are older (both under 2 now), with extended family members, and with other couples who come over for dinner. I am looking for games that are relatively light and fun, and am thinking:

a. Cleopatra and Society of Architects
b. Downfall of Pompeii
c. Thebes
d. Pirate's Cove
e. Chinatown
f. Hoity Toity
g. Pandemic (although this looks a little finicky)
h. Niagara (not sure this would be engaging enough?)
i. Any other recommendations?

3.A good party game to play with 6-8 people:

a. Bang!
b. Wits and Wagers
c. Saboteur
d. Citadels

(PS - we can't get Say Anything in New Zealand), which is why that's not listed above)

4. A good three-player game that is relatively light and family friendly - to play with my wife and a friend or adult family member. I am thinking:

a. Through the Desert
b. Any other suggestions?

Well, now that I have got all that off my chest, I hope you guys can give me some feedback and/or suggestions about my choices.

Much appreciated.
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I've played most of the games on your lists and I'd say it looks like a good list. You've done your homework.

IMHO, Pandemic is right next to Ticket to Ride, as the best in light games.

Some additional light games that I recommend:
Saint Petersburg
Guillotine
Fearsome Floors



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Rick Holzgrafe
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Natdog wrote:
1. I want a game for me and the wife to play and am thinking:
...


Lost Cities is probably your best bet. Carcassonne is excellent with two players, but surprisingly cutthroat, so you may want to wait on that until you find out whether the two of you enjoy the more competitive games. (With more players, Carcassonne is more chaotic and not so cutthroat.)

Mr. Jack is (in part) a deduction game, not especially intense. Recommended if you like deduction games and aren't put off by the theme.

Quote:
2. I want another (have TtR) good family game to play with my kids when they are older (both under 2 now), with extended family members, and with other couples who come over for dinner. I am looking for games that are relatively light and fun, and am thinking:

a. Cleopatra and Society of Architects
b. Downfall of Pompeii
c. Thebes
d. Pirate's Cove
e. Chinatown
f. Hoity Toity
g. Pandemic (although this looks a little finicky)
h. Niagara (not sure this would be engaging enough?)
i. Any other recommendations?


I don't think Pandemic is finicky, and because it's a cooperative game, it's good for non-gamers because you can help them know what to do.

Thebes is good, but the rules are maybe a bit complex for non-gamers. (They're not that bad, but they will seem long and complex to people who are used to rules printed on the inside of the box lid.)

Consider Catan. It's the original "gateway game", immensely popular and excellent for introducing people to "our kind of game".

Quote:
3.A good party game to play with 6-8 people:
...


Can't help you here, sorry. I'm not fond of party games.

Quote:
4. A good three-player game that is relatively light and family friendly - to play with my wife and a friend or adult family member. I am thinking:

a. Through the Desert


Excellent game, but Through the Desert isn't light!

Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Thebes, and Pandemic are all good, reasonably light games that play well with three players.
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Mark Farr
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Hi Nathan,

That's a pretty good selection for what you have in mind, I think. Don't let people put you off Lost Cities. It does work rather well, in most cases. It's a fine choice. It's cheap enough that it's not a big risk either.

I would consider replacing Pirate's Cove with Jamaica, if you can get it. I have found that people far prefer it, and I'm talking about casual players here, family gatherings and the like.

Pandemic is a good choice, not too fiddly. If you know how it works (and it's not difficult), you will easily be able to explain it to everyone and guide them along. They'll be fine in very quick time.

Thebes is a particularly good idea too, as the visual appeal and novelty really grabs people. For such occasions as you have in mind, it's a good one.

I would consider Dominion too. It's a game that I have had great success with when it comes to casual gamers.

No doubt someone will mention Agricola soon. That may work for you. It doesn't strike me as a great game for the sort of crowd you mention, but I haven't really tried it with my non-gamer friends. I just get the feeling it will be a little too much.

I wish you many hours of great gaming!
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Nathan Clark
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Wow - you guys are really great. Some brilliant feedback in a matter of minutes please keep it coming. Re Agricola, I did purchase this one but after a few games, decided it wasn't for us and sold it. I found that it was just too intense and too much moving pieces around constantly.
 
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David K.
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Instead of Through the Desert, you should try Hey, That's My Fish! My son really likes that game. Great for kids and grown-ups!

Since he was 4, (He's 6 now) He has also liked Junior Labyrinth and The Hobbit: The Defeat of Smaug.

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brian
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I agree on replacing Pirate's Cove with Jamaica.

I would also suggest Jambo for the 2-player game with your wife. Also check out Stone Age and Yspahan.
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Cartagena makes an even better game for non-gamers than Ticket to Ride. Very easy to explain and understand, and it's great fun, especially with three players.

Tsuro is another game anybody, even young children, can play and enjoy. Not a lot of meat to it, but it makes a terrific appetizer or desert. It can accommodate quite a few players (up to 8), but it's still fun with just two.

As far as two player games to play with your wife, I'd recommend looking into Hive or Kamisado. Samurai makes a great two player game as well (you can even try out the computer version first here).

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Mathue Faulkner
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I just thought I'd 2nd the Dominion recommendation. I have quite a few 'gateway' games, and Dominion and Ticket to Ride have had the most success among newbies. Dominion also plays well from 2-4, and the expansion is supposed to push it to 6 players. Its easy to learn, but still has a decent amount of strategy.

Bohnanza, Tsuro, Times Up, and Incan Gold (Diamante) are also great games for 6-8. My family loves Saboteur (although I've tired from it a bit).

Games you're considering that fell flat with my group (I play with a lot of newbies/non-gamers): Mr Jack, Through the Desert, Lost Cities (okay, but nobody loved it), Bang and Citadels. I was really disappointed with the last two actually. I think people either love or hate Bang...our group found it long, didn't like the elimination factor, and not very fluid.

Also, I wouldn't consider Pandemic too finicky at all. Its a solid game, and plays well enough with just two.

Another game you may consider that most everyone has enjoyed: Kingsburg. Everyone seems to enjoy it, although a real gamer may eventually find it repetitive in strategy (same could be said for Ticket to Ride though).

Also, Carcassone plays better with more people IMO. Especially if one person is cut throat and the other isn't....
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Big Kat
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Natdog wrote:
I am new to this board gaming world, but after buying Ticket to Ride I am 100% hooked and now want to obtain a versatile selection of games. The following is what I have ascertained as my choices, and I would really welcome your comments feedback on this and what choice you would make

1. I want a game for me and the wife to play and am thinking:
a. Lost Cities
b. Carcassonne
c. Mr Jack (although I think this one may be too intense for my non-gaming wife?)
d. Others?

When I first started collecting games, my wife and I both enjoyed playing Lost Cities and Mr. Jack. We don't play a lot of Lost Cities anymore (will sometimes bring it to a coffee shop on a date night), but we both still enjoy Mr. Jack. I think both of these would be fine options.
I prefer Carcassonne: The Castle over the standard Carcassonne for 2 players. This was also one of the first games that my wife and I played together. In fact, those were the main 3: Lost Cities, Mr. Jack and Carc: the Castle.

Natdog wrote:

2. I want another (have TtR) good family game to play with my kids when they are older (both under 2 now), with extended family members, and with other couples who come over for dinner. I am looking for games that are relatively light and fun, and am thinking:

a. Cleopatra and Society of Architects
b. Downfall of Pompeii
c. Thebes
d. Pirate's Cove
e. Chinatown
f. Hoity Toity
g. Pandemic (although this looks a little finicky)
h. Niagara (not sure this would be engaging enough?)
i. Any other recommendations?

I only have Cleopatra and the Society of Architects, The Downfall of Pompeii, Thebes, and Pandemic. These are great family games, but it will be a while before your kids are able to play these. Pompeii is probably the most accessible of these.

I have some members of my extended family that consider these games too complex (Ticket to Ride is their limit). Here are a few games that have worked with them:

Qwirkle (even worked with my 4 year old)
Ingenious
Hey, That's My Fish!
Blokus
No Thanks!
Manhattan
PitchCar
Formula D
Ave Caesar
For Sale

Edit: forgot this one - Unnamed Object

I've never tried it, but it seems like Keltis would be a good option too.

Games more on the kid side:
Igloo Pop
Circus Flohcati

Natdog wrote:

4. A good three-player game that is relatively light and family friendly - to play with my wife and a friend or adult family member. I am thinking:

a. Through the Desert
b. Any other suggestions?


My mom visits quite a bit and we have a regular rotation of 3 player games that my wife and I play with her:

Dominion (I wasn't sure she'd like it, but it turns out that my mom loves Dominion)
Cleopatra and the Society of Architects
Attika (also a fun 2 player game)
Wasabi!
California (this might also fit into category 2. A friend of ours introduced this to her family and it was a hit)
Ra
Metropolys
Small World (not in the regular rotation yet because we just got it, but we've been enjoying it so far)
Biblios (when we don't have a lot of time to play)
Stone Age
Thebes
Mykerinos


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Dan
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Natdog wrote:
1. I want a game for me and the wife to play and am thinking:
a. Lost Cities
b. Carcassonne
c. Mr Jack (although I think this one may be too intense for my non-gaming wife?)
d. Others?

Lost Cities and Carcassonne are both great choices. They'll both run their course eventually, but in the mean time they are simple and fun. I think I enjoy Carc more for the greater variety in decisions and control. Mr Jack is one of my favorite games, but a bit more chess-like in that you have to think out each possible move to have a good chance of winning.

Recommendation: Buy Carcassonne and LC. If I were to go with only one "for the honey," it would be Lost Cities.
Natdog wrote:

2. I want another (have TtR) good family game to play with my kids when they are older (both under 2 now), with extended family members, and with other couples who come over for dinner. I am looking for games that are relatively light and fun, and am thinking:

a. Cleopatra and Society of Architects
b. Downfall of Pompeii
c. Thebes
d. Pirate's Cove
e. Chinatown
f. Hoity Toity
g. Pandemic (although this looks a little finicky)
h. Niagara (not sure this would be engaging enough?)
i. Any other recommendations?

For what you're looking, Thebes is probably a good bet. I can't recommend it though because of it's price. Even though I'm not a huge fan of Pandemic, it's the one I'd recommend on your list.

Another consideration: when your children are old enough, there will be newer and cooler games. I don't think buying games for their future selves will work out very well. For family fun, I wouldn't leave home without For Sale.
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Soren Vejrum
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Lost Cities, Balloon Cup and Odin's Ravens are good, light, 2-player games (all in the same Kosmos 2-player series). Lost Cities is probably the best of them.

Battle Line is a better, "advanced Lost Cities" 2-player game if you are not put off by the war theme and somewhat boring graphics.

Hey! That's My Fish is good for both two adults, friends and family, and children.

Carcassonne and Zooloretto are good friends and family games. Zooloretto will probably be the first "adult" game your kids want to play when they get older.

Incan Gold is a good push your luck game for friends and family and children.

For Sale is a very good, light auction game for friends and family.

Winner's Circle is a great betting and horse racing game for family and friends and probably for children, too, if you do not think betting is "wrong".

Citadels is a very good game, but probably not as a "party game" - too long and complicated for that.

Bang! is a good party game - even if some players do not know or care what is going on, they can still shoot other players.

Cash'n Guns is a great party game - with foam guns. Even simpler than Bang! but also even more fun.
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Nathan, are you in Auckland? If so, you could drop in on one of the many game groups (I know of 4) and try some of these games before you buy them. That's the best way to avoid a lemon.

My recommendations:
Mr. Jack - not that intense at all
Cartagena - best gateway game ever
Lost Cities - Shenomad and I have over 75 plays in 2 years
Thebes - much easier to play than it is to explain/grasp
Wits & Wagers - sooooo much fun, but you'll likely have to ski a lot of the U.S. based questions. I understad there's a European version out, though, under a diferent name
Through the Desert - SUPER easy to play, still deeply engaging over time.

as well as the following, whch have been big hits in our family:
Enemy Chocolatier - easy, tense, brilliant fun
Quoridor - my only 10, learn in 1 minute
San Juan - like Thebes, may take a go or two to learn, but after that, every newbie gamer I've shown it to has been totally hooked.
Biblios - best card game of 2008, 3 minutes to learn
Hey, That's My Fish! - best all-ages game, period
Stone Age - like Agricola, but a fraction of the fiddling and 100 times the fun. VERY easy to learn.
Razzia! (or Ra, which is easier to find) - great auction game, very intuitive
10 Days in Africa - easy to learn, fun to play
Lectio - very party-esque, and you can play 1 round for 15 mins, or round upon round upon roun for hours, and it doesn't lessen the joy.

All of these are newbie-friendly, mock-resistant (my wife is a gamer, but a hesitant geek and therefore usually resists new games), and fun.

Have fun!
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Definitely pandemic. for a good 3 player maybe Stone age? And Battle Line could be a good one with the wife.
 
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Nathan Clark
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Thank you all for your contributions - this has certainly been very very helpful.
 
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Nathan Clark
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Thanks for the recommendations Tommy - I will certainly consider your suggestions. No, I am in Wellington. A game group sounds like a good idea though.
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Gerald Gan
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Two Player Game: My wife and I love Carcassonne.

Light Game for Family & Friends: We find that Wasabi! is a good intro game, specially due to the nice colorful components and the accessible theme. Everyone knows about sushi... right?

Party Game: We love Quelf and What's Yours Like? for larger groups of people. Our friends love these games too.

Three Player Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill is nice if you can find it. So is Vineta.
 
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My wife really like Carcasonne, and there are lots of expansions for it too. When your kids get older its a great game to help them learn addition. You said your kids are 2? My son really loves the Curious George game, and he is about 3.
 
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Rather than suggesting specific games, I reccomend joining a game group. There you can try out games that others bring and only buy the ones you like. Later, when you've built a base collection, you can take the risk on something you haven't tried. After all it can turn you off to the hobby if you find you don't really play half your collection.
 
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Natdog wrote:
1. I want a game for me and the wife to play


I second the recommendation of Jambo. It's a card game that plays like a board game. It has resource bits (but not too many, still easy to set up and clean up) and beautiful cards.

Stone Age is also an excellent idea. Even though I like heavier games, I think of Stone Age is often the most "fun" and least frustrating. Colorful, nice wood pieces, and since you score some points in the middle and some points at the end, you don't get discouraged thinking you can never catch up. Games often flip with the bonuses at the end.

Aquädukt has some similarities to Settlers of Catan, but it plays well with two, and is easy to teach because there's no hidden information. Has pretty glass stones.

For something light with dice, try Doubles Wild or Can't Stop.

Torres has cool plastic castle pieces to build with, and is interesting because you all share the board, there's not "your castle" and "my castle". Would also be on the list for "games to play with your kids when they get older".


Natdog wrote:
2. I want another (have TtR) good family game to play with my kids when they are older (both under 2 now), with extended family members, and with other couples who come over for dinner. I am looking for games that are relatively light and fun


Tsuro plays 2-8, has beautiful pieces, minimal rules, and has been a hit with gamers and non-gamers alike. Worth every penny.

See Stone Age and Aquadukt, above.

Indus - really nice bits, and familiar in that you roll a die to move, but it's not around the edge of a board in a straight line, and there are ways to get to re-roll.

No Thanks! - Take a card or pay a chip. Cards are worth face value. Get the lowest score. Simple to explain, but fun twists in play.



Natdog wrote:
3. A good party game to play with 6-8 people



Wits and Wagers thumbsup (even if Dominic is sending me menacing geekmails re: geekball )

See Tsuro, above.

Pass the Pigs or Toss Up!


Natdog wrote:
4. A good three-player game that is relatively light and family friendly - to play with my wife and a friend or adult family member.


Stone Age
Aquadukt
Tsuro
Indus
Doubles Wild
No Thanks!
Quoridor



Ringgz


Can't Stop

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Henrik Lantz
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1. Both Lost Cities and Carcassonne are good. Carcassonne has the added advantage of playing up to 5 people. It is however a longer game. Haven't played Mr. Jack.

2. I have played Cleopatra, Pompeii, Thebes, and Niagara of the ones you mention, and there is no doubt that Thebes is the best of these. A lot of fun! Simple enough to play with those that are perhaps not that interested, but there is enough game there for gamers as well (unless you really don't like the random draw of finds).

3. Bang and in particular Citadels are very long games with that amount of people. Haven't played the other two, but think they are shorter and would recommend one of those.

4. Another abstract that would work is Ingenious. A bit Scrabble-like in that you draw tiles to place on the board. I like it. The ones you mention under 2 fit well here as well. Samurai and San Juan are a step up in complexity, at least when it comes to amount of rules, but they are both very good light-medium games that play well with anything from 2 to 4 players.

Good luck!
 
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Bob Graffagnino
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Take a look at Manila. It's basically a boat themed betting game where players bet on where the 3 boats will end up after each turn. It's about as light as TTR, has nice bits, and even plays well with 2 (variant).


 
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Nathan Clark
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Some brilliant suggestions - thank you all. I am giving careful consideration to the suggestions put forward. I'll report back on my final decision for my next purchase and report on how it goes.
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Natdog wrote:
I am new to this board gaming world, but after buying Ticket to Ride I am 100% hooked and now want to obtain a versatile selection of games. The following is what I have ascertained as my choices, and I would really welcome your comments feedback on this and what choice you would make

1. I want a game for me and the wife to play and am thinking:
a. Lost Cities
b. Carcassonne
c. Mr Jack (although I think this one may be too intense for my non-gaming wife?)
d. Others?

a) Lost Cities - my wife loves this one, and it's portable enough that you can play it on the bed.

Quote:
2. I want another (have TtR) good family game to play with my kids when they are older (both under 2 now), with extended family members, and with other couples who come over for dinner. I am looking for games that are relatively light and fun, and am thinking:

a. Cleopatra and Society of Architects
b. Downfall of Pompeii
c. Thebes
d. Pirate's Cove
e. Chinatown
f. Hoity Toity
g. Pandemic (although this looks a little finicky)
h. Niagara (not sure this would be engaging enough?)
i. Any other recommendations?

Don't be buying games now you want your kids to play in 5 years. Pompeii is good, but I don't know if it has staying power. Tichu is a good simple 4 player game. I think the others may be a little to gamey for non-gamers. Pirate's Cove or maybe a party game like Wits and Wagers.


Quote:
3.A good party game to play with 6-8 people:
a. Bang!
b. Wits and Wagers
c. Saboteur
d. Citadels

See above, or Bang!. Also check out Ca$h 'n Gun$

Quote:
4. A good three-player game that is relatively light and family friendly - to play with my wife and a friend or adult family member. I am thinking:

a. Through the Desert
b. Any other suggestions?

Dominion, Carcassonne, San Juan, Ingenious? My one suggestion is don't try to turn non-gamers into anything other than casual gamers. Others may not be as excited as you.

Extra credit suggestion. Don't buy these all at once. Buy one at a time and see where they take you.
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