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Subject: Games for a competetive dad rss

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Richard Watney
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the situation: my father is a competetive man, and he knows it. he loves playing various games, the issue is that generally he works out the strategies early on, and thus theres very little to play for. he gets no satisfaction from winning. me and my brother (more my brother) feel worse off. this results in 'lets beat dad' scenarios, or him metagaming to make it interesting for himself.

so now i need a new game to reaffirm his faith and have something to do, with the following criteria:

1. no luck - ie. a game that cannot be won if you get consistently lucky. a fairly common requirement of a good game i expect.
2. hidden depths - must have a deeper layer to consider past the first play, so an easy win is not on the cards.
3. little or no scope for 'gang up on dad' scenarios, as these arent much fun either.
4. balanced well for 3 player. as it will mostly be 3 of us.

thats basically it - hopefully the situation will be familiar enough that people can relate to it and recommend from that. in terms of myself and my brother, we are 21 and 15 respectively, and both happy with heavier games like automobile or puerto rico.
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Jevon Heath
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You really should check out Chicago Express. Highly unintuitive, deep, no-luck, plays excellently with three... and optimal strategies change based on how good the other players are.
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Russ Williams
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Caylus is a popular (and quite good IMHO) eurogame with no luck or hidden information. It requires careful planning, punishes mistakes, and has various depths of strategy to discover. It works for 2-5 players. By coincidence I just played a 3-player game of it 2 days ago.

You might also enjoy games from the 18xx series (1830, 1856, etc), as they are multiplayer, quite strategic, and have no randomness.

I think your criterion 3 ("little or no scope for 'gang up on dad' scenarios") is essentially unfulfillable in any multiplayer game that includes any significant sort of player interaction, by the way. I believe it is always possible in an interactive multiplayer game for some players to gang up on another player.
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Trent Hamm
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Ingenious and Acquire both come to mind from your description. Both have limited luck, tons of hidden depth, limited ability for two people to gang up on one without hurting each other's chances, and play very well with three.
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Hi Richard-

With the notable exception of Dune and the GW titles, you own mostly shorter games. You also seem to prefer games where the players can affect one-another "directly"

Bearing that in mind, On the Underground is good with three players, but it may "feel like" Thurn and Taxis. Chicago Express is a good suggestion, and it plays in less than an hour. Tikal might be worth a look too.

If you want deeper gameplay, Steam is excellent, same with Brass: Lancashire or Neuland (but the English rules for that one are hard to make sense of).

For really direct conflict (and the chance to gang-up on the old man within the rules) you can't go past Fury of Dracula (second edition) or Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game.

And finally, everyone should try Power Grid.

Now, try to get him to post his side of the story

-R
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Richard Watney
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well this came from a conversation today, unfortunately about a game of power grid.

5 players, including us 3 and two others.
in essence, he was steaming ahead after a quick start, and was permanently ahead on the turn track. me and my brother, and i would hope everyone else would see that he needed to be slowed down.
as it happened it got to the end game, and he could win at any point with the right fuels available. in order to not lose, we staged a mass buy out of the coal he needed, and after two turns one of the others finished with a mass placement of stations.

his gripe was our 'jumping on seats excitement that we had foiled dad'. which i feel is a bit of paranoia, but thats my PoV. I can see why he was frustrated, but i would think he would be more insulted if we had simply 'let him win'.

the result is he refuses to play a game because a) he will win easily, or b) we will actively prevent him from winning at all.



not the most uplifting family experience but we do all love each other really
from all this im tempted by chicago express or something similar, but am worried we'll run into the same issues.
another one i considered was arkham horror - but it could be very hit or miss.

PS. i knew posting my collection would come back to haunt me worry not, my emphasis is slowly shifting to more cerebral games
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Brian Phillips
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Hi Richard,

Other than your first requirement, I'd recommend playing a game of Thebes. The digging for artifacts is the only luck involved and unless you have planned well the luck will not prevail. This game has been a huge hit with everyone I've played with. It doesn't have a gang-up scenario, it is balanced well, and there is not just one path to victory. Good luck with whatever you play.
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Antiquity might suit you, if the price wasn't an obstacle.
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Peter
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In the cases of luck, I've selected games that minimize luck, but may use randomness to add variety to gameplay. They are fairly minor and should not determine a winner. All 3 have a great deal of depth. Tigris & Euphrates could have a possible ganging up situation, but I believe a good player could use this knowledge to his advantage in this game. All 3 work well with 3 players.

Agricola - Very little luck (starting cards) and indirect player interaction.
Puerto Rico - Very little luck (plantation order) and indirect player interaction.
Tigris & Euphrates - Some luck (tile drawing) and player interaction.

Good Luck!

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Mystery McMysteryface
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Richard!!

I can empathize as my husband is exactly the same way: super competitive, figures out the best strategies, plays to win, etc.

I can tell you games that have NOT worked:
abstract strategy games - he figures them out
deduction games - he figures them out
luck fests - doesn't challenge him, won't play


Here are some that have worked for us and work well with 3:
Louis XIV
Acquire
India Rails - or any of the Empire Builder series.
Saint Petersburg - although he is currently trouncing me, but I will prevail!!
Pandemic - this is a good one, because it's hard to win!!

Good luck!!

Mrs. Mystery Bob
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Mitch Willis
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Chicago Express
The End of the Triumvirate
Blokus Trigon
Ingenious
Friedrich
Endeavor
Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery
Saint Petersburg
Sumeria
 
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Richard Watney
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in terms of luck, dice and decks of cards are fine as the luck generally evens out over time, or affects everyone, ie. the luck in Pillars of the Earth.

some great suggestions so far, good to get some empathy from others too
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Russ Williams
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otha62 wrote:

Friedrich leapt to my mind earlier, but it violates his first "no luck" requirement.

But the fact that Dad could be Friedrich and the sons are officially supposed to all attack him and can't attack each other might solve the problem of Dad feeling "unfairly" picked on. And the fact that the allies who are attacking Friedrich are not actually a team (i.e. every player wins or loses individually) means there's still genuine individual competition.

But be aware that it can be a long game.
 
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Miguel
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The End of the Triumvirate is a game specifically for three players with very little luck. It's probably possible to gang up on a single player, but it's such a tight race it might be hard to find the time to do it in the game.

Goa is a game with little interaction and little luck that is quite strategic.

Fury of Dracula (second edition) is a great game that pits a number of players against one (hunters vs. dracula)

Race for the Galaxy is a card game, so in a way there is a lot of luck, but it`s also quite a strategic game and ganging up is not possible because there is very little direct interaction.

Honestly, there are tons of games that fit this description. Good luck!

p.s. I strongly dissagree with the earlier recommendations for Thebes. Very good game, but it has an enormous amount of luck. Also, as much as I like Tigris and Euphrates, I don't like it with three (and ganging up is a definite possibility.
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Steve Holden
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I'll second something in the 18xx system. I played 18EZ last weekend, which is an introduction to the series, and really enjoyed the experience. There is a lot to think about (depth), multitasking, and no luck in these games. This series has many games to choose from, you'll have to talk to others for specific recommendations since I've only played the EZ.
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Eric Larson
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Acquire
Several folks have suggested it. See if you can borrow a copy and give it a try.
 
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Richard Watney
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how are people's experiences with Cosmic Encounter? there seems a high level of backstabbery, but also the large choice of alien races would seem to prevent it being easily 'figured out'. thoughts?
 
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