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Subject: Family game rss

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Ferran Solà
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Hi all!

I recently got into gaming, and some weeks ago decided to get a game so I can play with my family in those weekend afternoons.. So i got Ticket to ride, as it seemed to have the characteristics i was looking for. It really clicked in with all players, as it is a mostly light and fun game, but still has some competition between players.

Now they want more diversity, and I'm the one who will get them a different game, but I can't decide for which one, although i have some in mind.
My main points are;
-rule-wise, easy to understand on the long run.
-time-wise, short/medium. I don't think they could stand anything more than 2 hours per session maximum.
-should be fun/pretty/nice. Not a wargame, not a game with heavy strategics..

Carcassonne seems to be a must for lots of people, but i'm not too sold on that; the point system, although it seems easy, may be too much strategic for some older players, and it seems to need more concentration than TtR.

Small World also seems nice. The art and colours on the game may be a nice factor for them, and the interaction, althogh it's a "war" is pretty light.

Agricola should be good too. The theme, and more "friendly/family" approach seems to fit quite nice, but i also think it may be too difficult in the aspect of rules/strategies to win.

Feel free to correct my intuitions in those games, and give me any advice, recommendation, or anything. Also other games you think may be a better suit.


Well, as I said, i'm pretty new to this stuff, so forgive me if I'm wrong, or if this has been asked already, and uh.. my vocabulary/spelling (spanish roots tend to difficult it).

Thanks all for the contributions and help!
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James Webb Space Telescope in 2018!
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If you want more lighter games like Ticket to Ride:

Carcassonne
Pandemic
Saint Petersburg
Catan
Thurn and Taxis
Stone Age
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Mitch Willis
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Snow Tails
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Stone Age
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Edwin Priest
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I would stay away from Agricola for now. Although it is a classic "euro" with no direct confrontation is quite complex and much more of a brain burner than it looks.

Carcassonne is great, no more complicated or confrontational than TtR and would be my pick of your three.

Happy gaming.
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Stone Age is a good suggestion. Agricola is great, but probably not what you're looking for in this case.

If you're not sold on Carc (I don't like it, either), take a look at something like Tsuro or Labyrinth.

Perhaps one of the Settlers games, like classic Settlers, or Candamir: The First Settlers (which plays with 2).

Wasabi! is a tile laying game about making sushi recipies - fun bits, accessible theme.
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Tyler
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What about The Downfall of Pompeii? I find it to be a great gateway game. Another one my family enjoys is Take it to the Limit!. It's multiplayer solitaire but is almost guaranteed to be played more than once everytime it is pulled out.
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Erick S
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Here are some that my family (wife, son 10, and daughter 7) enjoy

Blokus
Seismic
Fish Eat Fish
Tsuro
Zooloretto
and another vote for The Downfall of Pompeii
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Chris Intres
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rhaz wrote:
Here are some that my family (wife, son 10, and daughter 7) enjoy

Blokus
Seismic
Fish Eat Fish
Tsuro
Zooloretto
and another vote for The Downfall of Pompeii


Agreement on Blokus and Tsuro and I usually hate abstract(y) games.
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Seth Holder
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I recently purchased Bohnanza due to easy rules, and fun theme. I tend to like the heavier euro games that don't have as much luck involved, but I actually enjoyed this one. I have only played twice and observed once, but it seem like it will have good replayability.

I also think Agricola is a great choice. It tends to be more complex strategy wise, but my 10 year old plays it well enough. We play without the occupation cards most of the time which reduces the complexity. The upside is that over time you can introduce occupations or at least develop more complex strategies.

Finally, I think Citadels and BANG! make great family games as well.

I own all these games and have played them with a huge range of people and ages. These along with Dominion tend to be my gateway games into our dark underworld.
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Craig Liken
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Stone Age was my first thought when I read your post. Easy game to understand, but has plenty of strategy to it. Not sure on your family numbers though - Stone Age only plays 2 to 4, so if you have 5 players then maybe not so good as someone will miss out.
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Ferran Solà
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Thanks all for the suggestions.

After taking a briefly (for now) look at the games you've all posted, i think these 3 may be the best fit for those parameters i wrote in the first post:

The Downfall of Pompeii seems to be fun, with nice art, and light, and seems different from many games, so may be a good point.

Pandemic seems to be quite nice too. Although i'm not sure if they'll like a coop. game, i think they will. Also, the theme seems an innovation and modernistic.

Stone Age also looks pretty cool. The board design is nice, and the game mechanics reminds me of a combination of other games. Also, different theme from the standards, so that should help.

Thanks all again, and keep the recommendations coming if you have more!

EDIT family numbers, which i didn't remember to post, is usually 3-4, so it should fit in most games. Maybe some times only 2, maybe 5, but strange cases that can always be solved with TtR or another 'typical' card game.
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Andreas
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I hope I am not too late with my suggestions. Carcassonne is really a great game. Especially in a family setting. A lot of people gave it rave reviews as a gateway game and one that works with people of all walks of life and all ages from 7 up.
A plus is that it looks nice and its not too expensive. If You get the first two expansions You can keep the game fresh for a long time too. Certainly You should get it or at least ponder a purchase.

I played it with friends, my mother (65), neighbours (a couple 66 and 65), another neighbour (family with man and woman in their 30s and 10 year old boy) and it clicks with everybody. Well there is always one who does not like a particular game or theme but its kind of rare with this game and the theme building a medieval landscape is also something that has a wide appeal. Certainly a good thing.

The scoring is not that bad. For one You could do it and help the others until they get it. And then You have only a limited amount of scoring opportunities.

In game scoring for a finished road, city or cloister
End of game scoring for unfinished roads, cities or cloisters and then the farmer scoring.

Really I cant think of it being a lot easier without being too trivial and boring. There is not much to it. Of course the game is easy to learn and hard to master but that is the case with about every decent or good game. And You could play friendly (with children or newbies) or cutthroat. Just think that You want to live with the people from whom You just stole the super city. Or whom You just spoiled their big city by putting a cathedral in it...

And then You should look for "SDJ" means Spiel des Jahres. Its a prize for family games. They award acessible game play, good components and all around a good game for a family. These would be just up Your alley and are usually widely available and relatively inexpensive.
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Sharon Khan
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Games that I've found casual gamers (friends and family) seem to like best and request over and over again:
Around the world in 80 days
Vegas Showdown
Bohnanza
Take It Easy
Dominion

I've also had success with family and:
Settlers of Catan
Through the Desert
Ave Caesar
Mississippi Queen
These have all gone down well on the first playing and they've been keen to play again, but haven't been quite as popular as the first list.

Carcassonne has always got a positive reaction too, but people never seem as sold on it as some of the other games I've tried.

I would say Agricola is too much of a next step from Ticket to Ride.

Small World might be a good bet if they don't mind conflict - I was surprised how much friends have taken to that one.
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Ferran Solà
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No, you're not late at all . I've got an entire week or two to think about the game.

What I've thought, is that maybe I can get one game (I didn't make any decision yet, as I like them all! ) and as a "bonus", get Carcassonne, as it's not expensive as you guys say.

Thanks, and keep ideas and opinions coming, I still have a difficult time deciding lol!
 
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Andreas
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Thanks for the quick reply. Bohnanza isnt expensive too.

Did You btw realize that most of the games mentioned here are on the SDJ list or got the prize?

Dominion is the 2009 winner, Carcassonne winner 2001, Settlers won in 1995, Bohnanza was on the list, Missippi Queen won in I think 2005. Someone mentioned Zooloretto which won in 2007, Thurn and Taxis won the SDJ.

Thats no coincidence that the great family games are linked to the prize. Or better that the prize rewards a great family game which means Carcassonne, Zooloretto, Settlers, Thurn and Taxis, Niagara, Missippi Queen etc etc
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David Whitcher
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When someone here asks for a family game my first thought is The Market of Alturien.

The playtime, rules complexity and interaction level are just right for budding gamers. It may be a bit light for some but I enjoy it.
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T Scott
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Just to echo a few of the recommendations here:

- Bohnanza and Bang! are a couple that my eight year old is always clamoring for. He's a big time card shark who's always up for one of these games or ... ::shudder:: King's Corner.

- Agricola works for my 11 year old, but the 8 year old doesn't quite grasp the concept. Last night my wife and I played the family rules (reduced card set) and then switched over to the standard rules and she found it a bit overwhelming -- likening it to the complexities of Magic:The Gathering where she just couldn't keep track of all the cards.

- Ticket to Ride is a fun one that everyone enjoys. The eight year old doesn't quite have the grasp of scoring points via tickets, but loves laying down trains.

- Carcassonne we play with a reduced ruleset to make it easy on the eight year old. We can only score on forests and rivers/fish. Makes the game a bit too easy but is still pretty fun.

- Citadels is another really fun one. Played it with some non-gamer relatives and they were awestruck on how fun it was.

- If you have a big enough gathering, you should consider giving Werewolf a try. We host Halloween and New Year's parties and EVERYONE really looks forward to playing this game.

Cheers,
--tim
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Chef D
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I have a few suggestions. First off, Agricola, even the family game, can be hard for children under 10 to keep their attention span. Here are a few that have been sure winners with my 7 year old son that both his parents also enjoy.

Dexterity -- Tier auf Tier, Villa Paletti,Sorry Sliders

Card Bases Games -- Dominion (and Dominion Intrigue), Ark, Bohnanza, Ivanhoe, Escalation, Cockroach Poker

Area Control -- Blue Moon City, Manhattan, Small World

Interaction -- Witch's Brew, Pandemic, Coyote

Race Games -- Transamerica, Transeuropa, Formula D

Dice Games -- Can't Stop, Roll Through the Ages, To Court the King, Sushizock im Gocklewok

Abstract -- Yinsh, Take it to the Limit

Fun Games -- Thebes, Pirat's Cove, Heroscape (not a great game per say but the set up time and miniature aspect can make a rainy afternoon fun especially with boys)
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South of You
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I say Stone Age would be at the top of my list. We like Carcassonne as well, but Stone Age is preferred. You likely wouldn't go wrong with either of these, or Dominion or Pandemic. The nice thing about questions like these is that you get a number of suggestions that will all work. You buy one (say, Stone Age) and when the family has its fill and wants a third game to buy another (maybe Dominion or Pandemic).
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Andreas
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If You want a dexterity game and if You have family Looping Louie is a MUST. Its not that expensive too. You get it at amazon.de for under 20 Euros. Might combine that with perhaps Fluch der Mumie and Carcassonne and Thurn and Taxis and You are settled!
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Ferran Solà
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Woah, thanks all for your replies guys, I really appreciate it.

Today I've met with them again, and played 2 more Ticket to Ride games. After that, most of them were going home or playing with my nephews, and my two brothers and me played a game of Age of Conan: The Strategy Board Game.

I've talked to them about most of the games you've pointed here, and from the new information i was able to gather, we're not sold on card games IE:Dominion(although if it was for me, I'm sure I would like it a lot), and no memory or dexterity games.
I introduced the concept of cooperation and worker/tile placement to them, as the only games that had been played in my family beofre were the typical monopoly or clue..

I did show them some images and read the brief information on the game pages, and I can say they seemed interested in these games:

Pandemic They really got excited with the cooperation game and the theme of it, more than I expected. Good as it seems to be a fun, rather fast, and not expensive game.

Small World To keep it straight, most of my family likes or at least doesn't hate light wargames, so this one made them smile. Combined with what doesn't seem a huge and deep strategic game, with the random race combos, and fun/cool loking theme/design & board, seems to be an option.

Carcassonne Raised more or less the same reactions that I had. It seems a nice game, but not very fun, or fast or anything special. It seems an average all-around game, a jack of all trades. It may be good as we think we could play it whenever we would not have any clear option, but it seems not to be the FIRST choice for any of us.

And more games that also intrigued me, as I don't have ANY information about them (I discovered them in this thread thanks to all of you ):

Stone Age, Catan(maybe too complex?), The Downfall of Pompeii.

What do you think about our 'chosen' group? Any concrete opinions on this games?
As always, keep suggestions and advices up!. Going to re-read the entire thread so I don't miss any comment.

Really appreciate your help! Thanks.
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Tory G
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I'm going to agree with the group

I think that Pandemic is a great game to move to from TtR. Most of my casual gaming family loves this game. Especially since it's co-op as they don't feel like I have an unfair advantage since we all play on the same team.

Stone Age is a great option since it is not super complex, but is still easy to teach/learn and doesn't take a long time. My family usually likes a good game of stone age as well.

Most of the Day's of Wonder games are light, great themed and fun for casual gamers. We enjoy Pirates Cove and Small world a lot as well.
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Andreas
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Of course Carcassonne is the Jack of all trades. But in my humble opinion it masters a few things as well:
- a quick game that can be played once or twice depending on the initial experience (base game 30 min is not unusual)
- good for everybody male or female, old or young
- friendly if you like or really sneaky and cutthroat if you make it so. Someone called it a wargame in disguise.

I had great success with it.

Dont forget Zooloretto. Its a bit on the light side but Zoo management is something that the whole family can enjoy. The expansions are mostly free downloads so You can freshen it up with just a colour printer and some work.
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Stephen Sekela
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Shinbo,

What are the ages of the gamers?

Also, are there any particular themes they are interested in? We do a lot of different games with the family, but it just kind of depends on what ages are playing, what a particular kid likes (pirates, dragons, etc), and what everyone's in the mood for.

Games like Cleopatra and the Society of Architects,A Dog's Life,and Dragonology: The Game make for good non-cooperative family games. There are lots of others, but would help to know the ages and interests of your family members.

Good Luck!
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Pete Lane
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Just picked up Finca and it's a very fun, quick, and unique game. Well worth your time! Otherwise I also put in my bids for:

Tsuro
Carcassonne
Catan
Pandemic
Yspahan
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