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Subject: Looking for a Couple of New Games rss

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Gary Webster
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As always, I've been watching the reports and ideas about the new games, and as time to purchase games approaches (don't tell my wife), I have two theme categories that I'm interested in:

(1) Rail Games. I've played TtR and UP, and have heard that Age of Steam is right there in between, toward the heavier side. That's more or less what I'm looking for, but would welcome any ideas about this genre.

(2) Fantasy/Adventure Games. I'm an old Magic Realm fan, and would like something with a similar flavor to play with my Eurogame-trained group, who probably wouldn't put up with my half-brained explanations of MR (trust me! the battle goes like this...). Runebound looks interesting, but much of the discussion about it is very discouraging, describing the game as limited and not very challenging. Duel of Ages also looks interesting, but I have concerns about the game quality, especially for my (somewhat spoiled) group. If it were just for me, I'd keep playing Magic Realm until the ink wore off the counters, but ...

So, my friends, what do you think? I suppose this could be a Geeklist, but I'm just looking for comments and ideas about good, challenging games. Our group would get a bit bored by a basically trivial game / dicefest, though the theme might help a lot. Hm.
 
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Galen
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Whatever you do, dont get Runebound. Might I suggest Heroquest? The new game heroscope looks rather good too.
 
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Mary Weisbeck
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AoS
Age of Steam is definitely heavier than either rail game mentioned. A lot goes into the planning of each turn. How much am I planning to spend, how much will I make, what are my costs at the end of the turn--that's just the money management part. This is a great game for people who like to strategize as there is plenty of options. You also have to be ready to roll with the punches when that plan is thwarted. I think this would be an excellent choice for you; you don't appear to have a problem with deep thinking games or with ones that are a bit abstract and some have said this didn't really give the feel of trains, so maybe it's more of a pick up and deliver game. Either way, if you want to lay some rail, this is a good choice.
 
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Dave Eisen
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In between? Age of Steam is heavier than either Ticket to Ride or Union Pacific. It also has a very different feel, even though all are train themed.

I cannot recommend it enough though. It's a very good game.
 
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Devi "Day" Hughes
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Fantasy/Adventure Game
As far as a Magic Realm alternative goes, I'm waiting for the English version of Die Rückkehr der Helden, which is going to be called "Return of the Heroes". I had high hopes for Runebound, and although I haven't played it yet, it seems as if it'll dissapoint me when I do...
 
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Gary Webster
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T'anks
Good feedback, thanks. AoS is recommended elsewhere, too, which is sort of why I suggested it. Of course, it's out of stock in the places I look for games (so far), while the other games I'm interested in are there. That's another story.

About HeroQuest. I have that, but haven't tried it with the group. Not a bad idea, though 'tis much of a dice fest. The group will chide me for the "roll dice to move" part! But, hey, it's a rule...
 
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Gary Webster
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Return of the ... Rabbit?
Devi, thanks for the idea on "return of the heroes." Your avatar looks familiar; which of the Watership Down rabbits is that? Fiver? I can't remember... ???
 
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I second the motion...
...to avoid Runebound like the plague.

I haven't tried Return of the Heroes, but it's been described as Magic Realm Lite so it might be a good fit for you. I plan to check that out myself once it appears in English - I need something to cleanse the bitter taste of Runebound from my palate.

As for train games, I just wanted to point out that Ticket to Ride and Union Pacific aren't really train games in the usual sense, but abstract, area-controllish games with a train theme.

Age of Steam is the Euro-ized version of the 18xx series, and involves economic investment and management as well as tactical track-laying. I understand that Volldampf is a good intro leading to Age of Steam if you don't want to make the direct leap, but I will endorse AoS as a decent gateway to "real" train games. If you like AoS, then you might want to check out 1830 after that if you want to explore even deeper train games. Of course, there's nothing wrong with playing just AoS...
 
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Mark McEvoy
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Two birds with one stone:

Iron Dragon. A Fantasy-themed rail game.
 
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MTG Ninja
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Dude, that's the Black Rabbit!
 
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Chester
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Duel of Ages
Well...I'm definitely in the minority on this, but I kinda like Duel of Ages. YES, the components are subpar...but nothing that can't be alleviated with a piece of clear plastic (I got a large one from a Hobby Lobby for $5) to help the non-flat platters stay in place. The problem is basically that they are all warped out of the box...and are supposed to interlock like puzzle pieces, which is hampered by the warpage.

YES, its probably overpriced for what it is. And I have no firsthand knowledge of the expansions.

But if your group is looking for a fun game of some light tactics, spiffy theme and conducive to team play (with a VERY flexible play time) Duel of Ages can provide some evenings of fun. I've only played one on one...but think someday we'll get a team game going. From what your group seems to like, I think this one is worth a closer look. Its definitely NOT heavy.
 
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Duel of Ages has a whole lot of dice-rolling, though. Mind, I'm getting it tomorrow so I don't know how good it is, but if your group dislikes dice they'll probably hate DoA.
 
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Dane Peacock
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Gary, I own and play Magic Realm, Runebound, and Duel of Ages.

Magic Realm has a feel like no other game. It is like, well, magic. As the game progresses, I find that it gets a little burdensome and brain-frying. I still find myself yearning to set it up and play it, even if we never finish.

Runebound is very different from MR, without a hint of the magic feeling. The victory conditions just ruin the game. I still believe that the basic system has a huge amount going for it. With a couple of rules tweaks and some creative scenarios, the game is very fun. It has a good experience point/character advancement system not seen this side of a RPG.

Duel of Ages, well, just see my '10' rating, my review, or my numerous comments on geeklists to see how I feel about it. It is not for everybody. Picky, German style only players will not like it. However, if your interests run from war games to RPG's to strategy games, then give it a try. It is not an adventure game like MR. It is a squad level tactical war game with many other elements thrown in.
 
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Gary Webster
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Of course!
The black rabbit! Now I remember (sort of; remembering at all is a challenge these days). Thanks, Rat!

Thanks to all for solidifying my idea (and supporting the discussions I've already had) about AoS; I'm 99.44% sure it's on my short list.

Also thanks for eliminating Runebound from the list; I'd hate to put the investment into a game that doesn't have that feel. I've had an interest in DoA since it first bounced around here, and I may go for it while continuing to look for a replacement to Magic Realm. Although, for nostalgia's sake (or was that neuralgia's sake; I forget), I set up a game of MR the other weekend, solo of course. As I mentioned above, I'm probably not ready to inflict the huge ruleset on my group any time soon. It actually played pretty well, though if I were playing one or two of the characters that I picked out, in a regular, multi-player game, I might have gotten just a bit frustrated.

I have some clear plastic sheets that I've used for Source of the Nile that might work for DoA.

Again, thanks to all.

The Black Rabbit, of course...
 
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Morgan Dontanville
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Hey Gary,

Runebound is exactly what you would expect it to be. The Dice grant you some cool decisions as to where to go and what to do, but that is really the most depth that there is to the game. Most of the time it is just a racing game where you try to beat each other to hot points on the map.

If you are vocal and like to do things like intimidation, you can threaten people to stay clear of your dibs or suffer your wrath. Kinda fun. This game is totally diversionary, but I think it succeeds in what it sets out to do.

What you really need to consider with Runebound is how often you would play a game like this, and with whom. If you find yourself hankerin' to bust out Talisman, then this is a nice option. I suspect that this is going to be one of those games that 10 years from now will be a hot commodity.

About AoS, I haven't played it, but I have played Volldampf, which is basically AoS lite. I quite enjoy it, but those prone to A/P over optimum moves will make this game unplayable. I'm looking forward to playing it with people that can deal with this system. The Debt system in Volldamf is rather brutal, and I hear AoS is worse. I like games to beat the hell out of the players, so this garners apeal. I'm thinking about picking up the Ireland Expansion to AoS so that when AoS is finally reprinted I won't miss out on the out of print expansion. Takin' a chance, but it certainly will be trade fodder.
 
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Gary Webster
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Thanks, Morgan?
Just when I have eliminated Runebound from consideration, a dissenting opinion is heard. One that I often listen to, AND he used the F word: "fun." "The game does what it sets out to do."

Probably means that for the level that the game aims for (NOT a brain buster, but a light, fun chase for the prize), Rb does well. Might even be a good brain release from games like PoF, E&T or even Torres.

Whaddya doin' Morgan, making me think?


Seriously, thanks for your comment. It's back on the list, for now. As a Magic Realm lite, or slightly more than a filler. Hm.
 
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RuneBound, etc.
I have to agree with Morgan. Runebound is a future classic. It doesn't attempt to be something it's not.

I played this game with the attitude I'd hate it, because it seemed Talisman-like and I loathe Talisman. I was suprised though. It is a race game, but an intriguing one and not linear. Someone commented on not liking the victory conditions. I think they're fine. Otherwise you'd end up with a Talisman feel of the endless, boring, horrible game from hell that will never go away. I sold all my Talisman stuff to some victim on eBay who paid me 3 times the original retail for used junk.

RuneBound will end up in my collection and I suspect the upcoming packs of cards will complement the game.

Duel of Ages is another one that suprised me. Another dice-driven game for sure, but a novel and unique one. The team aspect is excellent and at $35 I didn't feel it was overpriced. I have heard that later editions may have had the curved plat issue sorted out but I haven't seen anything that verifies this.

Since you're looking for an adventure game it's not likely you'll find one that isn't dice-driven. The whole concept of a fantasy boardgame makes it hard to ascribe to the Euro-Elitist mentality that any degree of randomness eliminates the game from any considerations of quality design and mechanics.

My #1 buy for September will be FFG's War of the Ring which promises to be another excellent dice-roller. At $60 it's pricey, but have you looked at the contents?
 
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Gary Webster
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Good point!
DW, I agree with your assessment of adventure games. One of the cool things about them is the unknown, and you can't exactly Euro-fix that. I'm one of the few who likes Tongiaki, and it's a very minimal exploration game, where the unknown is modeled by the turning of the next tile. It gets a lot of down looks because of that randomness, but that's what exploration and adventure are.

Another good point about War of the Ring. I'm a long-time Tolkien fan, and have LOTR, L: the Confrontation and even the trilogy edition of Risk: LOTR. I may be coming around more to the idea of BOTH Runebound and DoA. With all the expansions out ther, DoA ought to be around for a while, and hey, what's another game in the big scheme of things. T'anks.
 
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Devi "Day" Hughes
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As others have pointed out, my avatar is the Black Rabbit of Inle. I'd love to find a suitable picture of El-ahrairah, but haven't found any that scale well down to avatar size. So for now, the Black Rabbit will have to suffice.
 
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