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Subject: Transition games rss

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Jay I
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There is one group that I play games with more than any other. I have a problem in that some of them begin to lose interest once the games get heavier. I have been (VERY) slowly increasing complexity.

The loved Dominion and Bohnanza, but weren't real interested in Power Grid or Agricola as they were too much for them.

I plan on introducing the following to them soon:
Citadels, Long Shot, Pandemic, For Sale, and Alhambra.

I would like to add 4-6 games for a total of about $100-120

Must have:
Play well with 4
A complexity near that of Pandemic (it might be OK to be a bit more complex as long as the theme fits it's not real abstract)

Must NOT have:
Auctioning (maybe 1 game can have auctioning, but so far auctions haven't been a big hit)
Not more than one is an almost purely card game (Have enough of those already)
Military elements like guns and tanks (1/2 the group is women, and they just don't get into it!)

Nice to have:
Plays well with 3 and/or 5.
Games that contain some mechanics that don't exist in the above games
One or two games that are just a tad fiddly so they get used to having to keep track of things
Interaction. They love the trading/dealing in Bohnanza and the attack cards in Dominion
A cool theme as that seems to keep their interest

Here are what I have been considering (I am familiar with a few, but have not played them enough to have a real solid opinion) but new recommendations are welcome as well:

Stone Age
Tobago - This one is very appealing as the theme fits and looks like about the most complex I can go.
Cosmic Encounter (I realize it has a military element)
Tikal
Dream Factory
King of Siam
Catan
Roll through the Ages
I have played Galaxy trucker many times, and that's a thoguht as well, but the prices is a bit prohibitive.

Thanks all!
 
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D L
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Tobago is quite fun. Not mega fun, but still quite fun. Haven't tried it with more than 2 players, so it might actually be mega fun after all.

Stone Age is not my cup of tea, a tad too challenging, and this is coming from someone who plays Power Grid.

Formula D is quite fun as well. Simple to learn, and is all about risk management. Lots of luck, and a little bit of strategy. I've tried this from 2-8 players, and I'd say that the sweet spot is 2-5 players, with each player controlling 2 cars. You can also scale the game's complexity level.
 
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EP Papa
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Cosmic Encounter does not really have a true military element. The one it has is very abstracted, without any guns, tanks, lasers, swords, or anything else like that. It has no auctions and is not a card game, though the cards are a large part of the game.

It plays very well with 4 and 5. It still is good with 3, but better with more. It also has very simple basic mechanics, with only the alien powers which are color coded in terms of difficulty level, so you can increase the difficulty as you go along. It is not fiddly and has a ton of player interaction, so that should go over well. The theme is also cool, and the little spaceships add a lot of atmosphere.

So, I highly recommend Cosmic!
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Dice bags!
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Stone Age, Catan, and Roll Through the Ages will probably work. I have not played the others. You might also look at:

Livingstone - similar complexity to Stone Age, interesting theme
Aquädukt - a tad abstract, but easy to teach as there's no hidden info, and has nice bits
Archaeology: The Card Game - has the "thief" mechanic like Settlers, trading in market
Would Kingsburg be too much?
Montgolfiere, if you can find it (similar to Condottiere, but with a more colorful theme)
Ticket to Ride?
 
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Jay I
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Thanks for the replies so far. I have Formula D and plan on trying it out with the crowd, though I wonder about the theme.

Ticket to RIde could work if I could stand the agony of making it through a game! gulp
 
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Jeffrey McBride
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Although it's a themed game and has military elements to it I really enjoy Battlestar Galactica with groups. The group dynamic can be excellent as suspicion grips your group. Players can play this without knowing anything about Battlestar Galactica what so ever. (Robots turn on masters - Humans flee searching for earth - Robot's now look like real people and we've been infiltrated - GAME ON! Women in my groups respond positively to the game because of the social interaction in it.

Maybe a new game mechanic will help whet the appetite of your group overall and as their taste buds develop you can drag them into the more complex like powergrid which isn't too far fetched as long as "someone" knows it inside out and can lead the group. I love pandemic as an step up in complexity as well. That is my first choice.

Catan is THE gateway game to board games... they should play this as soon as possible! Simple to learn and simple to play but it gets your mind thinking right away in an addictive gambling type fashion. Excellent game!

I think the real trick is getting the brains used to working again so ... Catan...Pandemic... Battlestar....Powergrid......then maybe Ticket to ride as a break!

Best of luck!
-Glip
 
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Hendersonville
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only played Cosmic Encounters once but I don't see that going to far with the ladies

Tikal is right on the money and I've never had trouble with Catan but I would insist on the event cards (at least for the number drawing) vs. dice. I played 4 games with my sister and nephews last week, didn't bring the cards, and it reminded me why I wanted them.

Other games to consider...


Cash-a-Catch
Acquire
Jamaica
Fearsome Floors
Ra (comparable to Dream Factory)
Ticket to Ride: Europe
Uptown
Wasabi!
Hoity Toity
Pirate's Cove
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Ralph T
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I'm going to suggest Witch's Brew. Good with four, best with 5. It's a card game but it has pieces. It involves outguessing other players and bluffing. Very high interaction, satisfying at its 45 minute or less length. Almost no random luck in the game at all. I think you'll get a lot of play out of it.
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Joshua Lobkowicz
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Tobago is lighter than you may think from the rules. If you can have someone teach it to you, you will see how easy (and fun!) it is.

I would avoid Tikal. Very slow with 4. Much better with 3 and even then it doesn't sound quite right for this group. If you want to try one of those Action Point games, I recommend Torres

Also, I like Dream Factory, but it is aaaaaaaall about the auction. If auctions haven't been a hit, you may want to reconsider.

For other suggestions, try Masons. It's pretty, intuitive, and more complex than bohnanza and for sale.

Also, I see you aren't into the TtR suggestion. Those games do nothing for me either. Instead let me recommend Thurn and Taxis. People have compared it to ticket to ride. It's hard for me to say because T&T is actually fun.
 
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John Cabral
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I would say Chinatown would be a great choice. It plays 3-5 players. The whole game is based on negotiating trades between all players. There's no waiting for turns or down time because the negotiating is simultaneous. Anything goes! It's very simple and it's a good social game without being a party game.
 
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Gertrude McFuzz

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I recommend Taluva and Elasund: The First City. Both have an easy rule set without being light, player interaction, and play well for 2-4 players. I think Taluva has similarities to Tikal, but it's shorter and more dynamic and may be a better choice.

I also agree that Carcassonne is another good idea. You can add expansions as you go and in that way introduce everyone to more complex rule sets. If you go this route, I would first add Inns and Cathedrals, and then Traders and Builders.
 
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Mike
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Do you think the main problem is complexity level or do you think it has something to do with theme...or even fun factor? Recently I played Dungeon Lords with my girlfriend who understood the game and really didn't enjoy it. When I asked her why she said it just lacked that fun element. When I dug deeper she admitted that the game felt like a chore to play. Now she likes tons of games...everything from Killer Bunnies to Arkham Horror. It's very rare that a game is a huge miss for her. I think you might need to stay away from the deeper games that are more cerebral and focus on games that are more in tune with their preference. I hate to say it, but you may never get them to transition to more complex games. They simply aren't for everyone

Since they seem to like Bohnanza and Dominion and games that feature direct interaction feel free to try Cosmic Encounter. Much of that game is the interaction/manipulation of other players. It's really a lot of fun. It would probably go over really well.

I would also try perhaps the following...

Kingsburg - The game is very simple and the dice rolling game mechanic has never failed to grab the attention of people at the table. It always goes over really well.

Fearsome Floors - This is a simple racing game with a deceptive amount of depth. I really enjoy this tense little brain burner. People really love the wacky theme too.

Galaxy Trucker - If you enjoy this game I wouldn't worry about the cost. I've had lots of luck with this one. People really dig the ship building and everyone loves the mayhem! A crowd pleasure for sure in my group.

Mission: Red Planet - I know you're planning on busting out Citadels, but this could work too. The role selection is well done and there is just enough chaos to be enjoyable. I really enjoy this when I want something a little deeper than Citadels, but with the same amount of player interaction/screwage factor.

Good luck!

~ Bones
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Kevin Shillinglaw
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+1 for Carcassonne, Wasabi! and Pirate's Cove.

I'll also suggest Tsuro (for an excellent filler) and Tales of the Arabian Nights.

Tales of the Arabian Nights is a storytelling game, so it's very different than the games you have listed.

Good luck!
 
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