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Subject: Many of best games "a bit boring/samey"? rss

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Rauli Kettunen
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ldsdbomber wrote:
Perhaps this just means I should prefer the non Euro style games, I really have not played enough games to know what’s out there, I think I was just looking through the list of games in rank order and feeling a bit deflated at the number of games that seem to figure medieval villages, drab villagers, historical shields and imagery, and descriptions about the intrigue and politics of 16th century cheese shop owners. OK, I made the last bit up but you get my point. I kind of enjoy the games where randomness of dice rolls or cards makes up a lot of the game, where its not too seriously themed and where it can appeal to “non gamers” but also have some level of sophistication if you can be bothered with it. It’s a tall order I know, but what do people on here think?


I'm sorta in the same boat. I want a theme that appeals to me (#1 priority in any game), luck/randomness (doesn't have to be dice, but I have nothing against rolling buckets of dice either) and conflict/PvP (co-op games get a pass on PvP requirement) in my games. Thus if I look at the rankings, I see a top-15 which has 0 games with any pull for me. Euros are huge on BGG, but I couldn't care less about them (not all of the top-15 are Euros, but point remains). AT games meet my requirements nicely, thus those are the games I buy and play.
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Pontus Olin
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UlyZed wrote:
These kinds of posts pop up from time to time and I think they generally come from people who are uncomfortable being in a minority.

Revel in it!

I enjoy Agricola, Puerto Rico, etc, but I rate Carcassonne a 10.

I also love Guillotine.

Everybody's different. Sometimes they are more different than you can understand. It's a wonderful thing .


I don't think he said what you think he said.
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Daniel Danzer
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The great thing is - diversity!

Although I like some "high level" gaming, I enjoy just a lot of different games - and the geek help me to find out about all of them! If you use the "advances search" (yellow besides the game search space) you can look up "party games" or "Move and roll" or whatever and in whatever combination. You can even exclude certain mechanics or themes ...

Or, go to some of the games you like and look up geeklists, where it is on, or check the recommendations ...

Scopa, Fzzzt!, Snow Tails, Such a Thing, Ca$h `n Gun$s or The Climbers all get an 8 from me and are NOT of the kind you think of.

People just define "fun" differently, I guess, and some (as me) get the most fun out of diversity.

And only two of my 25 "9"s and single "10" are in the top 100.

Others love to play 60+ times Agricola.

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Russ Williams
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"Boring" is subjective of course, so if you find them boring, so be it.

But I don't see how you can say Catan and Carcassonne (your example pair) are "samey".

Catan is played on a pre-built map, and it has gathering and trading resources as a central mechanism, which requires lots of negotiation and deal-making. (Which means I found I no longer enjoy playing it now that I live in a country whose language I am weak at, since I'm continually not understanding the deals being offered before someone else accepts the offer.)

Carcassonne has tile drawing and dynamically building a map as you go as a central mechanism, and you could play it with no game-related communication even needed.

They are very different to me.


I notice that you seem to be focused primarily on theme, and not so much on game play. I wonder if Last Night On Earth was produced with medieval looking art if you'd be complaining that it's "samey" and just like Catan and Carcassonne.
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Green Dan
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I can sympathise. I'm in a similar postion, but from a mechanics point of view, not a theme one, I generally don't particually care about theme. But I am board (sic) with so many games that involve pick a role/place a worker-->collect stuff-->turn stuff into points. But, as mentioned above, there's literally thousands of games that don't conform to the theme/mechanics that have been overdone. So don't despair, hunt around, go off the beaten track, and you'll still find games you love.
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CHAPEL
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ldsdbomber wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean. Uncomfortable how? minority how? in terms of board games that appeal to me?


I think what he means is that in this DB of over 30,000 games you can find exactly what you are looking for and enjoy exactly that. However, you are in the so called minority because those games you would love are not in the top rated selection of games, otherwise you wouldn't have commented on the lack of what you like not being there.
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Ed Bradley
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This is an afficionados site so the games at the top of the rankings tend to appeal to people who are steeped in gaming - very hardcore.
A lot of these games are thus led by their mechanics rather than their themes, and they tend to lean away from randomness as the elite want to win or lose on the strength of their ability/experience rather than luck.

That's how I see it. I don't think it's particularly bad or good but it's the way things are.

I also think making sweeping generalizations about all these games is wrong and that's been pointed out here. Just because the theme or setting appears similar doesn't mean the games are the same to play.

And while we're sharing opinions I can't bear Carcassonne but I love Settlers, especially with a group of veterans when it becomes brutally cut-throat. I appreciate Agricola but I don't love it and I think all the cards add too much randomness/chrome to a decent base game.
I could go on
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Mattwran
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ldsdbomber wrote:
I personally feel (limited completely by my own inadequate experience in this field) that glancing down the list of the very best, top rated games here, does not present a super appealing, super diverse, super varied range of games and that causes me a minor ripple of disappointment, especially as I have not the time, energy or money to get to the bottom of what I do or dont like.


The best thing to do then would be to start a geeklist. Explain what it is you are looking for in a game and then ask readers to add games as suggestions. I could offer one (although it is sadly out of print): Nexus Ops
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Kris Van Beurden
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No real remark on the subject (except that the original poster seems not to be an Eurogamer but an ATer probably, and there is literally nothing at all wrong with that), but a remark on the poster: man, you are the furthest thing away from a troll ever. Such a courteous post, trying to explain yourself and your ideas rather than flailing about. Hat off to you!
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Chris Pabian
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I have only been here for about two months now and in that time I have read quite a bit about hundreds of different games. I dont just pay attention to what is ranked high here, that doesn't matter to me. All that matters is whether or not a game is good and will I enjoy it. There are plenty of resources here to find the types of games you might like. Ignore the ranks if it bothers you. There are plenty of geeklists and forum recommendations to help find any type of game you might be looking for. If you find a category or mechanic that you like, you can browse through those types of games.

 
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Daniel Danzer
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For some orientation, it can be helpful to look up some geeklists about different mechanisms / categories:
[geeklist=53293][/geeklist]
The top games in every category and mechanic on BGG... 76 games to cover them all.
How to Build the Perfect Good & Cheap Game Collection
How to Create the Perfect Game Collection: 30 Games (and 3 Special Categories) so You Never Need to Buy Another Game!
Beyond Mechanics Metalist....
What are the most original playing mechanics you've found?
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Niko Ruf
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ldsdbomber wrote:
I think my motivation here is probably just that because these games are SOOOOOO expensive, it is difficult to really wade through all the great info here to work out where best to spend the cash, and I think I just looked at the top of the list and thats what I meant when i said I was just a bit deflated in terms of appeal.


Have you tried the advanced search to look for categories and mechanics that appeal to you and then sort by rank? That should remove the overall "pro-Euro" bias and introduce a bias more in line with your own preferences.
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Michael Debije
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As to your title, they are not the 'best' games, they are the 'most popular' games.
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Darrell Hanning
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The only thing of substance I got out of your post is that you don't care for games involving building, well, much of anything.

That's fine - don't play those games. Play other ones. But Twilight Struggle is right near the top, and it is not about any of the things you complain about.

And polite or not, it is complaining. Because if you like Last Night on Earth for its violence, there are about 1500 other games you would like for the same reasons. And if you like it for theme, there's still dozens of games with the same sort of theme. And if you like it for the decisions you have to make, there are still several thousand games with that level of decisions to make.

So frankly, I think you're stating that you don't like in games what is most commonly seen on this site as being what's best in games, and there's a lot of people who feel the same way. So, find the games that have the elements you do like, and rate them as you enjoy them, and maybe in the long run, the rankings will change.

I, for one, never thought I'd see Brass climb into the Top Ten, although I knew it was much better than a dozen or two games ahead of it. Still, it happened. Ditto with Through the Ages.
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Luke Venechuk
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I can definitely see your point.

I love eurogames and most of the top games on the list get my pass, but sometimes they can get, well, a bit stale.

I like to see games with new mechanics or that require new strategies/tactics to do well at. As an example, one game that seemed a bit redundant to me I recently played was Oregon. Nice game, some good twists that made it it's own, but what it really boiled down to was: creating an opportunity to score the most points in one area and then placing a meeple to collect those points. It reminded me a lot of Carcassonne and I found myself getting a bit bored about halfway through my first game. One reason that Dominion has done so well is exactly this, it seemed like a brand new game to many gamers, even those with quite a bit of experience.

If you don't mind playing the same mechanics over and over I've got nothing against that, but I think the real fun in board gaming is learning (not the rules but rather how to succeed while subjecting yourself to them), and that requires something new to really be effective.
 
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David Winter
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I Identify with a lot of the things you say, It does seem that the most poular type of game on the site is the type where you can almost map out your turns before the game has started, and playing well is often little more than memorising a basic set of strategies and running them with little to no variation.

Games I do like in the top 15 are
Twilight Struggle
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
Race for the Galaxy

All of which use cards in such a way to prevent you formulating a perfect strategy as you can never count on getting exactly what you need, and more often have to make the best of what you get.
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Russ Williams
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dedindahed wrote:
It does seem that the most poular type of game on the site is the type where you can almost map out your turns before the game has started, and playing well is often little more than memorising a basic set of strategies and running them with little to no variation.

I'm always surprised that this caricature is so persistent, and that so many people seem to dismissively believe that strong players of games with no chance have simply memorized some basic strategies and then uncreatively play out canned sequences during play, as if anyone could easily do it if they would just memorize a basic set of strategies.

I guess it's the equivalent of saying a strong player in card games or other games of chance is someone who has little talent and is just lucky.
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Russ Williams
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ldsdbomber wrote:
I argued and still do that Grand Theft Auto, the first games, top down, 2D, charicature type games are A LOT more fun to play and interesting. The new "realistic" versions, 3d graphics,

That's similar to why I burned out on making and playing computer games. I also liked top-down 2D games (strategic turn-based games like Warlords, Heroes of Might and Magic, etc), but the industry went into the real-time action whiz-bang 3D graphics direction, and the games became less like interesting strategic boardgames and more like action movies.
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Darrell Hanning
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Quote:
I am glad that I am not the only one who can read about a medieval vegetable resource management game with gold edged cards and authentic stained map of olde europa and think, blimey, that does not make me want to rush out and buy it.


If that doesn't sound like a slam of a stereotype, I don't know what does.

It's the same kind of heavy-handed "all the same" indictment that certain AT fans are best known for.

I realize you want to come off sounding all reasonable and fair-minded, but when you state things like this, it undermines your entire position.
 
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Ben Chan
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Sorry to hear about your story. It seems like the theme plays a big role in your selection of games as well as certain level of randomness. I'll try to help out here.

Quote:
its just… not that exciting, and certainly not when you regularly try to play games with people who are not “gamers” as might be described here, perhaps that is the problem.

I feel the same when I try to introduce the "heavier" games to the non-gamers. So from time to time, I search for some lighter games that most people in my group may enjoy playing.

Based on my (tidy) collection, may I suggest Galaxy Trucker and Thebes? I find them to be quite fun, having good mechanics and not as heavy. So they also went well with the non-gamers.

In Galaxy Trucker you build your spaceship in REAL-TIME with tiles (yes you have to fight for the tiles with your friends) and the ship has to go through a journey full of disaster (may be? there comes the randomness, and you gotta roll the dices for the meteor and the attacks too.) The fun part would be watching your friends' ship (or your own ship) got cut into half. I'm not a big fan of Sci fi theme games, but how the game works got me into the theme.



In Thebes you play as an archaeologist, trying to discover some artifacts in Egypt, Greece etc. At first, it doesn't sound too exciting. But when you get to the dig site and start digging, that's where the fun part kicks in. The amount you dig is based on how much knowledge you have for the site and how much time you spend there, but it still doesn't guarantee a lot of artifacts. You might be spending 2 months and get almost nothing from the site. It's fun to see your friends fall in that situation and you can have a laugh at them. I think this game does a great job in simulating the real world of archaeology and thus a strong theme attached to the game. However, it might not work for you if you don't like too much randomness.



Just out of curiosity, how many games from the Top 100 have you tried? You might end up loving the games after you give them a try, even if you hate the theme in the first place. The same applies to some of my non-gamer friends. Some quotes from them before they try the games:
(Agricola) "You gotta be kidding, a farmer? That doesn't sound too exciting!"
"Puerto Rico? What a dull name. And this time you are managing a farm? booring!"
(Power Grid) "That's a boring box cover, I wouldn't buy this game if I were you. What made you bought this game anyway?"

Turned out some of them love the games and ask for more after just one play. Sometimes it might be the game mechanics that got you into the theme. That's how I feel for Agricola and Puerto Rico.


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Brandon Holmes
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When I first started building my collection I posted a fair bit on the recommendations section asking for suggestions based on what I wanted. Trying to search past the top 100 can be time-consuming if you haven't tried a number of games out yet and don't know exactly what to look for. I find watching the video reviews extremely helpful in imagining how the game is played and determing the likelihood I will enjoy it.

For me I seldom go by ranking anymore as like you I found many of the top ranked games to by dry, samey and designed more to show how clever you are than for fun (all of which you basically stated). The medieval theme is something I enjoy so that is less of an issue for me though it does get taken too far at times.

Now I just tend to avoid games rated under 7.0. In rare cases I will make exceptions (if something is REALLY appealling about it) but for the most part I find that a game under 7.0 is that way for a reason. Even if you limit yourself to games over 7.0 (and not focused on ranking necessarily) you will a large assortment of games that don't fit the stereotype you listed. Use the advanced search option if you want to do the work yourself (look for games rated over 7.0 and with at least 100 ratings or so) or ask for suggestions as I stated. Posters here are more than happy to help so you don't waste your money on games likely to fail.


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Mac Mcleod
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Recently played "Gravedigger" and "Samurai" back to back.

Gravedigger was very humorous and a solid game. The interaction-- not the theme per se-- was funny. You'd start setting up a ploy and maybe get away with it- but maybe get busted.

Samurai was as solid game but there wasn't a single "fun" thing about it. It's very cerebral.

I agree- a lot of games are starting to feel the same so I'm trying to go deeper into the ones i have.
 
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My tastes in games has changed over the past several months. My current favorites are Dominion and Crokinole. I've become bored of combat games. I don't like worker-placement. Co-op irritates me. I'm bad at deduction games, too. The top-rated games you mentioned, the cerebral ones, I tend to avoid as well because I don't want to put the work into them that they require to be good at them. I'm more than capable of it, but doing so takes all the fun out them.

More of my favorites are Age of Steam and Carcassonne. Win or lose I still have a good time with those games, and I'm pretty sure it's due to the 'building' aspects of each.

Edited to include the word: mentioned.
 
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Pete Lane
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ldsdbomber wrote:
I think my motivation here is probably just that because these games are SOOOOOO expensive, *snip*


I think the best thing to know about this hobby is that video gaming is exactly the same way. You can buy a game for $50-60 easy, play it for an hour... HATE it... and then be stuck having to trade/sell it for somthing else. Why is it that people are so willing to do it with a video game but balk at a board game? Most board games you will keep on your shelf and play over many years before ever getting rid of... most video games with exception of Multiplayer games or ones that evolve with new content will be done and collect dust in under a month.
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Garcian Smith
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I did smile a little at the point that many games have these village/medieval theme that does not excite me terribly.

My current favorite games:
Race for the Galaxy
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride Nordic
Resistance
Chicago Express

I think the theme in these games are acceptable, though most pasted on. For a game like Race, I like things like doomed world where the art shows a planet being hurled to the sun and how the card counts against you if you have it, making you want to get rid of it as soon as possible.

More than just points, I think my enjoyment from games is seeing the outcome. For instance, I see several possible strategies in Race and in a game I choose one or more. I don't really see myself playing the game, but rather the game resulting in some outcome. It's sort of like flipping a coin 10 times and seeing the result. But instead of boring heads and tails, a board game would have more interesting results.

Or we have Ticket to Ride where we gamble on missions and see if we are able to get those done before the game ends.
 
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