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Subject: Which game over $19 but under $20 should I buy? rss

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Mike G
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I'm cheap, I'll admit it. And even though free shipping isn't necessarily a good idea it's hard to resist the idea of taking advantage of it. Since coolstuffinc seems to have the best combination of free shipping (over $100) and low prices, I'm ready to make a purchase.

Let me back up. I'm relatively new to modern boardgames, my wife and I having been introduced to Settlers of Catan a couple of years ago. Recently I stumbled across a gaming group and after a handful of sessions have discovered many games. Some were clearly good next steps for my wife and our friends to try, and I've bought them: Ticket to Ride, Modern Art, Bohnanza, Pandemic. And while my wife would probably prefer I stop right there, we all know that's not going to happen, right?

So. Here are the games I have in my cart right now:

Carcassonne - $16.99
Seems like a natural next step for us, and hard to beat at that price. So, pretty set on this one.

San Juan - $16.99
As much as I'd like to try Puerto Rico, it may be too much for us. I'm sure we could handle it, just not sure how much table time it would actually get. SJ seems like a logical purchase, perhaps a step towards PR, perhaps just fun for itself. Again, cheap price makes it attractive to me.

Cleopatra and the Society of Architects - $18.99
Looks like it would appeal to my non-gaming friends, and it's cheap. Dirt cheap for all the pretty pieces it comes with.

Dominion - $27.99
Frankly, I'm wavering on this one. Will my wife like it? Will it seem too "geeky"? I've played it once, didn't really know what I was doing, but could see how it would be fun. This one's definitely in the cart because I need to get to $100. But should I keep it?

So. Assuming I keep Dominion, I have $80.96 racked up. $19.04 more and I qualify for free shipping. Huzzah! I'm seriously considering tossing in Pandemic: On the Brink. Pandemic has gone over very big in my house. My wife loves it, my friends love it. Hell, even my mother liked it, and she hates games. And, since Pandemic: OTB is $19.49, it would put me only a negligible 45 cents over $100. The downside is that it's still in preorder, and my entire order won't ship until OTB is available. But that shouldn't be much longer, right? The other downside is, do I really want to buy an expansion when its place in my cart could be taken by....a new game!

Okay, enough blather. What do you think? should I just buy OTB and be done with it? Or is there another game at coolstuffinc that is more than $19.04 - but not too much more! - I should get instead? Or should I skip Dominion, in which case I need to come up with $47.03 in other games.

Yes, I'm cheap. And time is money. But that's why the time I'm wasting on this post is my employer's...
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montag 66
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Get some expansions:

TrR:1910 - $12.99
Carc Inns and Cathedrals - $10.99
Carc Traders and Builders - $10.99

If you have kids:
Cheeky Monkey - $19.49

Here's a decent filler:
Archaeology Card Game - $6.99

If it were me, I'd get the two Carc expansions as it is the best way to play the game. Of course, I'd also get 1910 for the bigger train cards.

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Steven
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If you mostly play with non-gamers (as I do), I've found it's easier to get them to re-play an old game than to teach them a new game. If Pandemic has been a big hit, you may want to seriously consider the OTB expansion, which seems to introduce some significant new elements to the game.

Plus, it perfectly matches your $19-$20 criterion!
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montag 66
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celiborn wrote:
If you mostly play with non-gamers (as I do), I've found it's easier to get them to re-play an old game than to teach them a new game. If Pandemic has been a big hit, you may want to seriously consider the OTB expansion, which seems to introduce some significant new elements to the game.

Plus, it perfectly matches your $19-$20 criterion!
Yeah, but then he has to wait for all of his games....and none of us like to wait, right?

He can just put OTB on his next order.....oh, there will be a "next" order. There always is.
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Mike G
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Oh, forget to mention I already have the 1910 expansion for TtR. Got it used in a deal with the base game (it was cheap, natch).

The only thing about the Carc expansions is, I'd like to make sure it's a game we'll play before I start buying them. Plus I read a recommendation to play the base game around 20 times before expanding, and play each expansion 20 times before adding more. So seemed like there was plenty of opportunity later on to buy them.
 
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Mike G
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montag66 wrote:
...oh, there will be a "next" order. There always is.


Must...resist....must....resist...must...
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Big Kat
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I just received Ra: The Dice Game from coolstuffinc and played it for the first time last night. It's pretty fun! Good if you're mostly in the mood for Ra, but want something a bit lighter. It's $19.99.

Another option would be to get Leonardo da Vinci for $12.99 and add Court of the Medici for $6.49. Or you wanted to bump your limit up to $21.48, could swap Leonardo for Jungle Speed ($14.99)

I think Ra: The Dice Game fits in well with the other games in your cart. But Leonardo for $13 is a great price for that game.

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Big Kat
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falluper wrote:
Oh, forget to mention I already have the 1910 expansion for TtR. Got it used in a deal with the base game (it was cheap, natch).

The only thing about the Carc expansions is, I'd like to make sure it's a game we'll play before I start buying them. Plus I read a recommendation to play the base game around 20 times before expanding, and play each expansion 20 times before adding more. So seemed like there was plenty of opportunity later on to buy them.



Don't buy your Carc expansions yet. Save them for later when you need to get free shipping on your next order.
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Mike G
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bigkat wrote:

Another option would be to get Leonardo da Vinci for $12.99 and add Court of the Medici for $6.49.


Now this appeals to my cheapness. $12.99 for LdV is a great deal, right? I mean, at that price, I can play the game twice and feel like I got my money's worth. Plus, perhaps this is a good way of introducing worker placement/heavier weight games to my friends? Okay, very tempting...
 
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Angelo Arezzi
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To start with,my apologies for doing what so many people do. I am about to ignore what you said and give totally different advice anyways. It might be helpful so I'll throw it out there though.

I thought about buying San Juan but went with Race for the Galaxy instead. It's harder to learn but the general belief is you might grow from San Juan to race, but not go the other way. Race is easily my favorite game, and the only one that forced me to actually sleeve cards. If you switch San Juan for Race, you can add the Gathering Storm expansion and maybe just about hit your exact goal. Good luck.


Ange
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Mike G
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NJAnge wrote:
...but the general belief is you might grow from San Juan to race, but not go the other way.


No need to apologize for the advice. None of this is carved in stone, all advice greatly appreciated.

Couple things, though. If one is more likely to grow from San Juan to RftG, doesn't it therefore make sense to start with SJ? That way we can play that and then maybe move on to RftG. Whereas if I get RftG then we'll probably never ever play SJ.

Edit: Forgot the second part of that "couple things." From what I've read, RftG has a learning curve where you don't really know what you're doing for the first, oh, 4 or 5 plays. I'm not sure my friends have the patience for that...

 
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Steven
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falluper wrote:
From what I've read, RftG has a learning curve where you don't really know what you're doing for the first, oh, 4 or 5 plays. I'm not sure my friends have the patience for that...


FWIW, from my one experience with RFTG, after several games of San Juan, RFTG definitely has a learning curve. The mechanics (i.e., role-selection etc.) are not that complicated, but the cards in your tableau affect your role powers much more than in SJ. In fact, one of the roles is entirely defined by the special powers in your tableau cards! And I could tell that any strategy in RFTG requires a pretty good knowledge of the (very large) deck. In particular, I found it very hard to plan for the 6-cost cards, which themselves are a bit obscure.

This is not a criticism of RFTG, which I plan on playing again. But if you only game occasionally, or only with occasional gamers, San Juan is much, much better.
 
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Pete Lane
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falluper wrote:

Cleopatra and the Society of Architects - $18.99
Looks like it would appeal to my non-gaming friends, and it's cheap. Dirt cheap for all the pretty pieces it comes with.


This is actually a surprisingly fun game. I had limited interest going in but a buddy brought it over and it won us all over. I'd say it's a wee bit more complex than a "non-gamer" game typically is. But it's a very fun medium to lite euro and the plastic fiddly bits are really icing on the cake and by no means make-or-break the game. In fact, I'd strongly recomend watching the "Boardgames with Scott review" to give you a better idea.
 
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Angelo Arezzi
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I'd say the learning curve is definitely not easy, but once you have 3 or 4 games in, you will think it is so very simple. The trick is to get past those first 3 or 4 games. If even one of you is able to learn it, getting the others through the first 3 or 4 games isn't that hard. I played one game with an experienced player and got what was going on. It took about 10 plays through to start to visualize the different strategies to winning though. Many gamers once they own Race don't really go back to San Juan. So it is almost a wasted extra game. I went right to Race, knowing it would be a tougher bump to get over initially, but once I was over it, it would pay longer dividends. My gaming dollars are always tight, so I went with Race. There is also an excellent online tutorial, if you watch that once or twice it really helps. Believe me when I tell you though teaching it to my wife and 11 year old daughter wasn't super easy, but now they both play great (my wife at about game 2 started kicking my butt) and finally my daughter won one the other day. I was so proud.

Ange
 
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Mike G
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I am very close to pulling the trigger on this. How can my darling complain when I'm getting 6 games for $100, right?


But is there a better combination? Should I replace Court of the Medici with Archaeology, even though it's $.50 more, because it's playable with more than 2? Oh, decisions, decisions.
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Mike G
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celiborn wrote:
But if you only game occasionally, or only with occasional gamers, San Juan is much, much better.


As much as I respect Angelo's case for RftG, this right here is the reason why I think San Juan is better for me. If I can get my wife and friends to play more than twice a month I'm lucky.
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Art Vandelay
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yes, I think you should replace medici with archaeology! its a good little set collection card game
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Ralph T
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I wouldn't get Carcassonne. I know you're set on it, but you are always better off holding out for the Big Box because the cost of adding three expansions to the base Carcassonne is the same cost as the big box.
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Big Kat
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falluper wrote:
I am very close to pulling the trigger on this. How can my darling complain when I'm getting 6 games for $100, right?


But is there a better combination? Should I replace Court of the Medici with Archaeology, even though it's $.50 more, because it's playable with more than 2? Oh, decisions, decisions.


Stick with Court of the Medici. Fifty cents may not seem like much now. But on your next order, when you find yourself at $93.01...
 
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Lukas Litzsinger
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Unless you like the idea of a lot of expansions and are willing to buy them, I would go with Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers instead of the original. The scoring is a little easier to wrap your head around, and there is more variety of play right out of the box. Also, there isn't that 'oh no look at all these expansions I have to get to make the game better' feeling. It's been more than enough to fill my Carc cravings.
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Mike G
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ralpher wrote:
I wouldn't get Carcassonne. I know you're set on it, but you are always better off holding out for the Big Box because the cost of adding three expansions to the base Carcassonne is the same cost as the big box.


Rukasu wrote:
Unless you like the idea of a lot of expansions and are willing to buy them, I would go with Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers instead of the original.


For the last couple of months, I've been debating back and forth: Carcassonne or Hunters and Gatherers? I keep pingponging between them. As has been established, I'm a cheapskate. So springing for the Big Box is not very likely. Nor is shelling out money for expansions -- although it seems that the only essential ones are I&C and T&B, which I might pick up if I could get them - yes - cheap.

Okay, let's assume I'm never going to buy a Carc expansion. Is it a given that, in this case, I should buy H&G rather than the original? Because it's a whole $1 more expensive....
 
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Mike G
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bigkat wrote:
Stick with Court of the Medici.

fbi_boy wrote:
yes, I think you should replace medici with archaeology!

Um...so it's a coin toss...
 
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Carc >> BSG
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Definitely keep Dominion. If you have a wife who's already into playing games I think this will be a big hit. Carc: Inns and Cathedrals and Carc: Traders and Builders are the two must-have expansions.

Another cheap card game to look for is Set. I'd recommend it over Archaeology because it'll appeal to non-gamers.
 
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Tom Emmons

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As attractive as Leonardo Da Vinci looks at 13 dollars, I would not suggest it. The game is significantly heavier than the other games you are looking at and probably won't be liked by players who aren't into gaming.
 
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myles
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I've never really cared much about Dominion. Repeated plays haven't helped.

Since you're looking at Puerto Rico in the future, maybe Stone Age would be a good intro to worker placement. I actually like it better than PR and most of the other worker placement games I've played. It's been one of the few games my girlfriend enjoys playing regularly. That might be a plus for you, if you're looking for wife appeal.

Regarding Carcassonne, if you're not looking to buy expansions, I think you're better off with The Ark of the Covenant or Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers. Both have easier to follow farmer/shepherd/hunter scoring. Also the ability to drop sheep/deer into your own field or tigers/wolves into your opponents is fun! Hunters/Gatherers gets bashed for the gold nugget rules and bonus tiles, but it feels like free included expansion to me. It may not add perfect balance, but it definitely ups the fun factor over basic Carc.

Ark of the Covenant, also has the same quality game play, but you add in a "prophet" (giant meeples) for each player and the traveling "Ark of the Covenant" which add other options for acruing points each turn. The prophets make the cities more valuable than basic Carc, so it doesn't just turn in to a fight over the biggest fields. Also, the Ark feels like a little expansion is included for free.

I'd rather play either than "basic" Carcassone.
 
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