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Subject: Gigamic Games rss

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Nathan Woll
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Since we have a thread dealing with our favorite GIPF games, I was wondering about people's favorite Gigamic games. Maybe everyone can add their list of favorites and a quick explanation of why they like the game.

Here's my list.
1. Quarto - I really like the mechanic of your opponent choosing what piece you play. While I'm not sure you can have any strategy with this mechanic; that's fine with me because the games are so short.

2. Quoridor - This one will probably top most people's list and for good reason. It's easy to teach, easy to learn, and has rather complex strategy. This makes a great gateway game.

3. Gobblet - I'm not very good at this game yet, but I find it fascinating. It really taxes your brain trying to remember what is where, and trying to see all the possible 4-in-a-rows, and trying to remember that your pieces can be covered.

4. Quixo - I just got this game, and I've only played it twice. I was rather surprised at how much fun it is. I have no idea what the long term strategy is though.

5. Batik - Well at least it's fast. There is almost no decision making whatsoever in this game, but it plays so quickly that it's not that important. I use this game in my classroom to reward students, and they really like it.

These are the only ones I've played so far, but I'm interested in trying out the rest.
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Russ Williams
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My current ratings of these Gigamic games:

Inside = 8 (Really elegant and clever rules - looks so simple it should have no replay value, yet we keep enjoying it. We also play with the varied starting cube distribution (as suggested by the designer in the BGG forum) instead of always using the published one)

Pylos = 8 (Like Inside, it looks simple, yet the strategy continues to impress. Even the opening is opaque (unlike Inside) - I still don't know if I think it's better to start on a side, corner, or center! But I don't like how the balls almost but not quite fit into the trough around the play area at the start. Sheesh, lame design for a pricey wooden game!)

Quads = 8 (Not wooden like the others, but it's a great lesser known early Kris "GIPF" Burm design. This time, every piece is unique. Quite enjoyable!)

Quoridor = 8 (Excellent, full of nonobvious strategy and careful tactics. I saw some geeklist post where a guy said if you are thinking in this game you're not playing it right, it should just be crazy fun, and I was like WTF?)

Cathedral = 7 (sort of Blokus crossed with Go Lite. Nifty, though the singleton pieces seem pointless as you almost always easily place them)

Quarto = 7 (Good quick fun, and a sentimental favorite (the first game my fiancee gave me))

Gobblet = 6 (the memory aspect is annoying)

Quixo = 6 (kind of long and drawn out for what it is)

Eclipse = 5 (physical cumbersome, sometimes hard to see where the chains are going; meh gameplay, but I only played a small number of times and might well appreciate it more if I played it more.)

Skybridge = 5 (potentially interesting game there, but the rules had significant ambiguity for us uncharacteristic of others in this series which left us frustrated and annoyed, e.g. are bridges and roofs "blocks"? 2-player using 2 colors is ambiguous about whether you must play on the lowest level possible, or on the lowest level possible for the color block you choose to play)

PS: I assume you aren't asking about other games that have technically been published by Gigamic but aren't really "thinky" (e.g. RÖK) or are more famously from other publishers (Hive, etc).
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T. Nomad
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Over the last 2+ years, BGG has exposed me to hundreds of great games: San Juan, Tigris, Union Pacific, Go and current favourite Condottiere. Quoridor is still my only 10.
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Billy McBoatface
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russ wrote:
Cathedral = 7 (sort of Blokus crossed with Go Lite. Nifty, though the singleton pieces seem pointless as you almost always easily place them)
I think that this may be more famously published by another company. My rating on this is hard to figure out; it's a lot of fun, but the game is an easy win for the first player once they figure out the strategy. You can always play twice and see who wins by more, but still it's not nearly as interesting once you figure out the starting move sequence that lets you coast through the rest of the game.
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Nathan Woll
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I wasn't counting Cathedral or other games more famously published by other companies.
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Greg Ziemba
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I would rate the Gigamic games that I own and play as follows:

Quorridor
Pylos
Quivive
Quixo
Quarto.

I am surprised to see Hive and Cathedral as Gigamic games as my editions at home aren't from Gigamic. I wonder if they have European distribution rights only for these games. Although I have Quarto at the bottom of my list, I would suspect that this may be there best seller as many of the game stores that actively carry and display Gigamic really push this one to customers. Overhearing the sales pitch given by the store clerk, it seems they assume the customer isn't a gamer who likes deeper strategy but rather a one and done purchaser. They push the tic-tac-toe aspect of Quarto and do not offer to teach another game. The store that hooked me into gaming was happy to try any or all of their games on display. I ended up purchasing Qourridor and Cathedral that day.
 
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Geir Erik Ø
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1 Quoridor
2 Quatro!
3 Gobblet
4 Pylos
5 Eclipse
6 Cathedral
7 Quads
 
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Jeff Binning
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Quote:
1. Quarto - I really like the mechanic of your opponent choosing what piece you play. While I'm not sure you can have any strategy with this mechanic; that's fine with me because the games are so short.


I have a method of play for this that often rattles my opponents and seems to give me an edge.

On your turn, you have a 2 step process. First, you place your piece, then you think about which piece to offer the other player, and offer it to them. I decide where to place my piece, but I don't actually place it until I've chosen the next piece I want to give to the other player.

So instead of a nice play, pause, offer, it becomes a quick place-offer, bam, bam, ok it's your turn. People have often commented, wondering how I can choose so fast. I don't. I just do both pieces of the thinking at once, but it increases the pressure.
 
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Russ Williams
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Colorado_Jeff wrote:
On your turn, you have a 2 step process. First, you place your piece, then you think about which piece to offer the other player, and offer it to them. I decide where to place my piece, but I don't actually place it until I've chosen the next piece I want to give to the other player.

But surely only a beginner or casual player would be surprised or rattled by this. It seems like saying "In chess, you have a 2 step process. First, you decide what piece you will pick up, then you think about where you will put it down and put it there. But I rattle my opponents because I don't actually pick up a piece until I've decided where to move it." I.e. it seems normal and unsurprising to me that one would know one's complete move in a game like this before starting to execute it.

In the case of Quarto specifically, I suppose your winning more against opponents who only think about what piece to give after placing a piece is not due to rattling them, but due to them making crappy moves from not thinking well about their moves. Indeed, someone who doesn't think about what piece they're going to give you until after they've placed a piece will sometimes find that - whoops! - no matter what piece they give you, you're going to win.
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Jeff Binning
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Quote:
In the case of Quarto specifically, I suppose your winning more against opponents who only think about what piece to give after placing a piece is not due to rattling them, but due to them making crappy moves from not thinking well about their moves. Indeed, someone who doesn't think about what piece they're going to give you until after they've placed a piece will sometimes find that - whoops! - no matter what piece they give you, you're going to win.


As a hard-core and lifetime gamer, I know what I described seems obvious, but I've played this game with a wide variety of people, many of them avid gamers, and of course many who are casual gamers. (This game is an excellent game for people who are new to games, because it shows that games can be simple to learn, and yet require thought and be fun to play).

No one I've played this with has ever started repeating my style of play, even after I point it out to them. They always do the pause, play, pause present style, and nearly always get flustered by the one-two rhythm I play with. I'm not sure why, but it works for me.

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Russ Williams
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Colorado_Jeff wrote:
Quote:
In the case of Quarto specifically, I suppose your winning more against opponents who only think about what piece to give after placing a piece is not due to rattling them, but due to them making crappy moves from not thinking well about their moves. Indeed, someone who doesn't think about what piece they're going to give you until after they've placed a piece will sometimes find that - whoops! - no matter what piece they give you, you're going to win.


As a hard-core and lifetime gamer, I know what I described seems obvious, but I've played this game with a wide variety of people, many of them avid gamers, and of course many who are casual gamers. (This game is an excellent game for people who are new to games, because it shows that games can be simple to learn, and yet require thought and be fun to play).

No one I've played this with has ever started repeating my style of play, even after I point it out to them. They always do the pause, play, pause present style, and nearly always get flustered by the one-two rhythm I play with. I'm not sure why, but it works for me.


I agree that many people seem to have a tendency to play Quarto that way (not thinking about the second part of their move until they've executed the first half). (Something about the mechanism seems to encourage that in casual players.) To me, not thinking about the piece to be given means they are playing that game of Quarto casually, even if they are avid gamers who might play some other games seriously.

And maybe it really flusters your opponents. I haven't seen people shaken up by more seriously players who plan their whole move. But maybe you do it more decisively and impressively. Like some goofy go players who slam their stone down loudly or something.

In any case, I still doubt that the rattling effect is the significant factor that makes you win against them. They are simply making crappier moves! Even if they are perfectly calm and unflustered, these non-lookahead players get into positions where they realize "Oh crap, no matter what piece I give you, you're going to win", and they put themselves into that dilemma by not thinking about this before they put a piece on the board.

It's just like how a casual chess player who plays by deciding what piece to pick up, and only then deciding where to put it down, often makes weaker moves than someone who actually thinks about both steps before beginning to execute them.

Or for that matter, in almost every game, the player who doesn't bother looking ahead to see what an opponent's possible responses are will do worse than the player who does look farther ahead in the game tree. Ultimately this simply boils down to: the player who looks farther ahead has an obvious advantage.

It occurs to me that you could easily test this. Simply play with your existing decision making method, but after you put the first piece down, pause before handing the next piece to the opponent (as if you were only then deciding what piece to give them), so they won't be rattled. I would be willing to bet that they will still lose more often than you, if they really are not thinking about what piece they'll give you until they place their first piece.
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T. Nomad
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wmshub wrote:
russ wrote:
Cathedral = 7 (sort of Blokus crossed with Go Lite. Nifty, though the singleton pieces seem pointless as you almost always easily place them)
I think that this may be more famously published by another company. My rating on this is hard to figure out; it's a lot of fun, but the game is an easy win for the first player once they figure out the strategy. You can always play twice and see who wins by more, but still it's not nearly as interesting once you figure out the starting move sequence that lets you coast through the rest of the game.

Tom Lehmann has published a starting variant that solves this. I'm late for a lecture, but a link for it is in my comments for this game.
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Billy McBoatface
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tommynomad wrote:
wmshub wrote:
russ wrote:
Cathedral = 7 (sort of Blokus crossed with Go Lite. Nifty, though the singleton pieces seem pointless as you almost always easily place them)
I think that this may be more famously published by another company. My rating on this is hard to figure out; it's a lot of fun, but the game is an easy win for the first player once they figure out the strategy. You can always play twice and see who wins by more, but still it's not nearly as interesting once you figure out the starting move sequence that lets you coast through the rest of the game.

Tom Lehmann has published a starting variant that solves this. I'm late for a lecture, but a link for it is in my comments for this game.
Sounds really exciting. Your comment has a link to a page that is gone now though.
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Nick Bentley
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For me, Quoridor is waaaaay above the rest.

It's a poster child for deceptive simplicity. It also is extremely approachable, in the sense that new players don't feel lost, even if in fact, they are. The concept is so intuitive that one immediately thinks of tactics and strategies to try, so that one never has that weird "playing totally blind" feeling that so often comes when one first begins to learn a deep abstract game.

I wonder if optimal play involves a "stalemate" in which the two players move their pawns back and forth in an endless cycle, neither one willing to place walls or move very far. The idea being that committing to a course of action gives the opponent the advantage, because then he will know better how to block/reroute you. I acknowledge here that I am just as likely to be completely wrong as I am to be right.

But, though quoridor feels like it should be solveable it is surprisingly resistant to my (and apparently everybody else's) attempts. It gets a really high rating until somebody makes headway there.
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I agree with Russ regarding Inside, including varying the cube mix.

Quoridor has more going for it than first meets the eye. Its predecessor, Blockade, uses walls that are color-coded to limit play to either the X- or Y-axis. I'd like to try that and also a partnership game. I enjoy the 2-player game enough that I will, eventually.

I've only played Pylos once, but it's promising.

Since Cathedral was mentioned, I'll put it here. Besides, its simple rules, moderate depth, and pretty wooden pieces fit with the rest of these games. Lehmann's tweak: 2nd player lays his piece and the cathedral.

I admire the design and production of Quarto more than the fun I get from the play, but it's enjoyable. Like most of these games, it invites more than one game in a row.

Gobblet is just OK. I like it with kids, but I don't ask to play it with adults. It's not the memory aspect alone -- it's that the twist isnt' enough to give it an edge over other x-in-a-row options.
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Caleb
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I only played Quoridor once (many years ago) and it was a 4-player game. At one point, one of the players was forced to move their pawn and place a wall in such a way that she was choosing which of two other players would win.

yuk

I have not played Quoridor since.
 
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Néstor Romeral Andrés
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Mine is Pylos. I've played once (with counters) and it is quite interesting.

But the reason I like this game so much is because it is "the" game that drove me into the boardgames world. When I saw it in a shelf of a shopping centre here in Spain around 15 years ago I got hooked immediately. I said to myself "This is it. I MUST do this!".

And here I am. Doing it.

I didn't purchase the game because the box was damaged. My mistake. I should have.

Néstor
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cannoneer wrote:
I only played Quoridor once (many years ago) and it was a 4-player game. At one point, one of the players was forced to move their pawn and place a wall in such a way that she was choosing which of two other players would win.

yuk

I have not played Quoridor since.

You should play it 2-player. Like many such games, the multiplayer version comes down to kingmaking and diplomacy, but the 2-player version is an excellent strategy game.
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Sebastian Ross
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wmshub wrote:
tommynomad wrote:
wmshub wrote:
russ wrote:
Cathedral = 7 (sort of Blokus crossed with Go Lite. Nifty, though the singleton pieces seem pointless as you almost always easily place them)
I think that this may be more famously published by another company. My rating on this is hard to figure out; it's a lot of fun, but the game is an easy win for the first player once they figure out the strategy. You can always play twice and see who wins by more, but still it's not nearly as interesting once you figure out the starting move sequence that lets you coast through the rest of the game.

Tom Lehmann has published a starting variant that solves this. I'm late for a lecture, but a link for it is in my comments for this game.
Sounds really exciting. Your comment has a link to a page that is gone now though.


It's on Tom's current site. Basically he suggests placing the cathedral after the first player's turn instead of before.

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Stephen Tavener
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Tortuga
Pylos
Quoridor
Batik
 
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I'll kick in 4 GG to anyone who has already posted to this thread and wants the Gigamic microbadge. Just geekmail me.
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Ethan Larson
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I really like Quarto's design, but I don't find it fun. Too much calculation for me. :)

Quoridor is awesome. 4P does suffer from kingmaker syndrome, but it's still fun. The 2P is most excellent.

I like Pylos quite a lot.

Quixo is fun.

Quits is awesome, and I have no idea why it hasn't been mentioned here.

QuiVive, I only played once. Seemed nice.

Sahara, I didn't get at all. Not sure I like that one.

Quads is nice; it's like a game I designed and programmed back in 2001 in shockwave.

ETA:

Forgot Skybridge. I really like that game. Probably my favorite stacking game.
 
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p55carroll
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This thread makes me think maybe I should tear the shrinkwrap off my copies of Pylos, Quarto, and Quoridor.

. . . and then talk my wife into playing them.
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Russ Williams
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
This thread makes me think maybe I should tear the shrinkwrap off my copies of Pylos, Quarto, and Quoridor.

. . . and then talk my wife into playing them.

Yes, you should. The rules are very quick to learn, the games don't take long to play, and they are fun. Of those 3, Quarto is probably the quickest/easiest/fastest to get into.
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Tony Chen
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I love Gigamic games. They are all beautifully produced, and play very well especially considering how short and simple they are. The epitome of short simple abstracts if you ask me.
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