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Subject: up to 60 minutes / mid to mid.heavy game / 3-4 players rss

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Samo Oleami
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I realized I have quite a gap in my collection between the light games and games which take a lot of time. I'm searching for a game which scales well for 3 to 4 players, takes 50 minutes (45-75), but has weight around 3.0 (2.5 to 3.5). I'm looking for some meaningful gameplay which can be done in a decent amount of time, without needing a lot of time to explain game to new players (RftG is just what I would need, if not for the learning curve).

Small print:
- Looking for strategic (lots of choices and ways to win) not tactical games (no Knizia, no brainburner games like Reef Encounter).
- Cuba, Genoa and La Citta are on my to-buy list, but these are certainly 2 hour games, I'm looking for something shorter, but of similar weight. You can also recommend that I just stick with these and do not look for other games.
- Basically I like to have a medium weight game, where you develop your engine or build your whatever (empire, shop, ...). And please: board game, not card game. No co-ops and nothing directly aggressive.

I was looking at:
Stone Age A lot of people enjoy this, a lot don't. I wonder how much strategy does it allow?
Tribune: Primus Inter Pares Quite heavy for 1 hour mark which is nice. But I don't see anybody raving over it. Dry? Boring?
Caylus Magna Carta I am seriously considering this one and I never really intend to buy Caylus.
Sylla Same as Tribune, but even more so.

What I was not looking at: Colosseum (has some problems) and old euros like Goa and Saint Petersburg.
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Colin Kameoka
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Two games come to mind when I see this.

Puerto Rico
In the Year of the Dragon
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J Kosec
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Have you thought of either China or Himalaya?

These are listed as perhaps lighter than a weight of 3.0, but they're not necessarily gateway games, either.

Yes, ItYotD is good, too.
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Chris Ferejohn
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Race for the Galaxy seems like an obvious recommendation here.
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Eric Knauer
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Chicago Express seems ideal.

Caylus Magna Carta is a good pick as well. Sylla may be more like 90 minutes.

More suggestions closer to 2.5 weight & excluding tactical vs strategic considerations:

Mykerinos
Louis XIV
Samurai
Arkadia
Oltre Mare
Keythedral
Vikings
Capitol
A Castle for All Seasons
Industrial Waste


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Samo Oleami
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cferejohn wrote:
Race for the Galaxy seems like an obvious recommendation here.
Well it is, because I own one and if you could find something of the same or similar let's say weight, complexity and time needed to play which would also be easy to teach in let's say, well anything under 2 hours we'd have a winner. (But 15-30 minutes of teaching would be even better). I might look at Glory to Rome at some time (when it's available again), but I'd prefer game with a board this time.
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Samo Oleami
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eknauer wrote:
Chicago Express seems ideal.

Ha, I just looked at it 30 minutes ago.

I read some complaints, that the game is just light, diluted version of heavy rail games. I've never played any, and probably won't either (I'm trying somehow to get a copy of Indonesia for this type of economic games), but does the game hold on its own?
I will go and read some reviews. I see it has a german publisher and no in-game text, which means I could get it cheaper from Germany. This is a plus. This one looks promising.

eknauer wrote:
Caylus Magna Carta is a good pick as well. Sylla may be more like 90 minutes.

More suggestions closer to 2.5 weight & excluding tactical vs strategic considerations:
Mykerinos

Hm I'll check this one. Btw, which of the Ystari games would you recommend? (aside of Caylus).

For the rest:
Louis XIV In doubt, but will check again
Samurai - No (knizia + tile laying)
Arkadia - Read and watched reviews. I'll skip this one (I'd rather try stone age in this weight/time cathegory).
Oltre Mare Will check
Keythedral Probably too cut throat.
Vikings In doubt, but will check.
Capitol Will check
A Castle for All Seasons Read nothing nice about this one, I'd rather try with Tribune.
Industrial Waste Will check

Thanks for recommendations. I wonder if someone can recommend a game they played and which fits in this medium time medium weight category, and gives reasons why?
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Ralph T
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I marvel at In the Year of the Dragon for its weight and its short length. It's the fastest playing medium/heavy weight game I own.
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T. Nomad
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In the Year of the Dragon for sure.
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Craig Phillips
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Glory to Rome fits the bill well...Guatemala Cafe is medium weight and fairly short too.
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Ankur Gupta
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Have you thought of Attika?
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Ralph T
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Notre Dame is also in the same time limit.
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Mitch Willis
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eknauer wrote:
Chicago Express seems ideal.


Chicago Express is the first game I thought of...you might also take a look at:

Royal Palace
König von Siam
Sumeria
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Stone Age allows some strategy, but not as much as Cuba or Agricola, for example. I don't think you really build much of an engine, it's more gathering resources and getting buildings or cards with those resources. You only get those resources when you go to that spot, and have to get more next time, unlike Agricola where you sow grain and harvest some at every harvest, or have sheep that multiply.

Maybe Candamir: The First Settlers would interest you. It fits your qualifications, but may or may not be what you're looking for.

Phoenicia might work.

My mid-weight picks are Cuba and Agricola. If you plan to play with the same people, the investment in teaching them the first time might pay off. I think you could hit 75 minutes with 3 players (an hour with 4 people with a midweight game, and not a card game, is pretty tricky - it's the restriction I kept bumping up against when looking for something to recommend).
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Todd
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Chicago Express is NOT light. It is a very deep game and it is very subtle. I have only played it 5 times, but it is my favorite game that I own. It is not very forgiving, but an excellent choice.

Good luck!
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Mystery McMysteryface
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Well I vote Yes to:

Louis XIV

and NO to
In the Year of the Dragon


Have you considered Acquire?

Another thought: Freight Train
 
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Thad Hobson
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I own about 50 euro games including their expansions, and I think I like Stone Age as much as anything. It's a blast. At first I was hesitant towards it because it has dice, and I don't like dice other than in wargames. I was pleasantly surprised with how the dice work in this game though: enough randomness to make you laugh or scream, but not so much that the game is decided by them.

I own many of the resource management/worker placement games (Agricola, Caylus, Stone Age, The Pillars of the Earth, and A Castle for All Seasons), but I believe Stone Age is my favorite. In certain ways Agricola is better, but Agricola does take more time to play, and it's harder to teach to newbies than Stone Age. Which one is better sometimes depends on who is playing with you. Agricola is more serious than Stone Age. I do believe you strategize a lot in Stone Age, but there is also room to relax and laugh with it, too. It has a nice blend that way.

Someone else mentioned A Castle for All Seasons. This is a great game for my wife and I and 10 year old daughter to play as a three-some. We enjoy it a lot. My one concern though is that it may become more predictable than the other games. I destroyed my family last time by repeated use of the bricklayer. I'm not seeing as many different ways to win in this game as in others. Still a nice, short, light to medium game though for the right group.

I don't think anyone on this thread mentioned Tigris & Euphrates. That's a good medium length game with a lot of meat to it. The rules are fairly simple, but the strategy is deep. It is a tile laying game which I had apprehensions about at first, but have since grown to enjoy a lot.
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Thad Hobson
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On second thought -- although Tigris & Euphrates is a good empire building, strategic, medium-weight game, it is probably too "directly aggressive" for your tastes. You can be downright nasty to someone if you want to be--that's part of the fun though!
 
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Samo Oleami
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Everytime before I open a new thread, I always ask myself why, as I think I had all the games covered. Well, so far, aside from games I already had in mind (CMC, Stone age), and games, that plainy just don't interest me (anything Knizia, In the Year of the Dragon), there has been quite some games mentioned that I overlooked, or completely missed.

So far:

The promising:
Chicago Express
(+ Stone age and CMC)

The interesting:
Industrial waste

The overlooked but worth another peek:
Louis XIV
Himalaya
Notre Dame

The not so interesting, but will investigate anyhow (everything with auction/bidding):
Keythedral
Capitol
Vikings

Will check tomorrow (or today, depends on the time zone).I wonder can anybody comment on Sylla or Tribune? (the latter in particular). And of course new suggestions are always welcome.

Bottom line so far for me is that I'm looking for something relatively heavy for one hour mark, but easy to teach and without brainburn. If I could find a game, that is not just good, but solid and still on the market, well this would be a pleasant surprise and a gaming niche filled.

Edit: added Notre Dame
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Samo Oleami
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In the end I'm down to 3 or 4:

Stone Age because it looks simple and fun, but I really like to develop something, so, have to think about it. It's the mechanics I'm not so sure about.
Tribune: Primus Inter Pares because it looks it has a lot of interaction for a worker placement game. Down side is - it's expensive compared to others.
Chicago Express because it looks really fascinating to have middle weight 1 hour long train game. Although I have to put my head around this concept (not a big fan of train games). But, why not?
Caylus Magna Carta because well, I can get it for cheap. After watching a video review it felt really dry, but all in all, if I'll buy from german amazon I might as well take this for 12 eur.

Thoughts? New suggestions?

Edit: P.S.: Although some suggestions were really interesting, the games in question are out of print.
 
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IMHO

Stone Age isn't mid to mid-heavy. It's pretty standard on the Euro scale.

CMC - Yup, dry and not too heavy either. Like a British Wine.

Chicago Express - I'd say this is the most mind taxing of the lot. Loads of interaction and can create mind fatique, but as the name suggests it is "express" and will clock in at 60 mins. This would be my pick to fit your request.
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Henrik Lantz
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I think that you are (almost) asking for the impossible. A mid-heavy game with a playing time of around an hour? That's stretching it. If you also want simple rules, that's an equation that I don't think has a good solution. Stone Age, for example, is a great game, but is at the lower bounds of your suggested weight range, and will take at around 90 mins with 3-4 players. Just about all of the games mentioned above will either take more than 75 mins or are lower in weight than you are asking for. With several experienced players, you can squeeze Stone age in under an hour, but if you are that experienced I think that the game will already have lost some of it's charm for you.

I am saying this so that you won't be disappointed. There are so many great games mentioned above, but most of them will take longer than 75 mins. There is a strong correlation between weight and playing time, not absolute, but the correlation is strong.

Instead of lowering the weight of the games you are looking for, I suggest you buy some of the the games you want, and try to live with the fact that they take more than 75 mins.

Also, don't over-rely on the statistics. Arkadia and Stone Age might have a similiar weight and playing time, but you really can't compare them.

In the end, I don't think you can go wrong with any of the titles you mention in your last post. You really can't know which one will work best for you until you have tried them. If you really really cant't choose between them, pick the ones with the heaviest weight. These games tend to be the most rewarding in the long run.

Good luck.
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Dan C
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Have you taken a look at Elasund: The First City? Seems to fit your description. (very different from Catan by the way, heavier, but shorter in length)
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Samo Oleami
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Bolger wrote:
I think that you are (almost) asking for the impossible. A mid-heavy game with a playing time of around an hour? That's stretching it. If you also want simple rules, that's an equation that I don't think has a good solution.

Well these are the times of neo-liberal capitalism we're living in. We want a lot, but don't have the time.

Bolger wrote:
There is a strong correlation between weight and playing time, not absolute, but the correlation is strong.

Well yes, I have a feeling, that if a relatively heavy game is relatively short, this usually means it is forcefully cut short (it ends just when the engine begins working). Which might not be a good thing. (Even with RFTG sometimes I just think, oh, over already? But... I HAD plans. cry )

Bolger wrote:
Instead of lowering the weight of the games you are looking for, I suggest you buy some of the the games you want, and try to live with the fact that they take more than 75 mins.

Well I already have a shopping list for that category (Cuba, Genoa, La Citta), but I really have a trouble getting longer games to the table (maybe it's just power grid), and the shorter ones I have are not so satisfying (and could be a bit longer). So I'm just saying: I have a niche, can I fill it with something?

Bolger wrote:
If you really really cant't choose between them, pick the ones with the heaviest weight. These games tend to be the most rewarding in the long run.
Yes, I'm slowly but surely coming to the same conclusion.
 
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Sue Hemberger

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Bolger wrote:
I think that you are (almost) asking for the impossible. A mid-heavy game with a playing time of around an hour? That's stretching it. If you also want simple rules, that's an equation that I don't think has a good solution.


Especially if you rule out Knizia!
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