Eric O. LEBIGOT
France
Versailles
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Do you have recommendations for games that:

1 - are fun & social (interactive)

2 - are deep, strategic and tactical

3 - have little downtime

3' [added] - give a sense of qualitative progression or variety (seeing a farm grow, facing a rich variety of threats like in Magic: The Gathering,…)

3" [added] - have some significant "breadth": games like Agricola, Race for the Galaxy, or Magic: The Gathering have so many different cards that they obviously represent an amazing amount of work and provide great variety; many abstract games feel "thinner", compared to these, and I'd love to get suggestions for these "bigger" games

4 - are good with 2-4 players (very good with 2 players would be OK, but only good with 4 players only would not, as my gaming group is small)

5 - play in under 90 minutes (2 hours might be OK)

I know, that's a lot to ask.

The reason why I would love to investigate such games is that my collection, which mostly contains games for 2 (that also work with more) tends to be split between games with little verbal interaction, where the fun comes from a nice intellectual experience, and games with more interaction, where the fun comes more from table talk. Thus, after playing game of, say, Race for the Galaxy in a complete silence, I might be wanting to play the lighter and more social Cosmic Encounter, and reciprocally. Or, after playing a thinky game like YINSH, I might crave for a game as full of surprises as Magic: The Gathering.

Any idea (even games that does not have exactly all the above characteristics) would be much welcome!
 
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Richard Martin
United States
Overland Park
KS
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I really like Cyclades. That seems to fit a lot of your criteria.
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Mike Fox
United States
Yukon
Oklahoma
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My favorite game that fits these criteria is Lord of the Rings. It's cooperative, and will definitely play under 2 hours after the first time you play. You're all placing tiles and stuff, but you also each manage a hand of cards that no one else sees. You can't show them what you have, but you can tell them what you're able to do or what wouldn't work for you and that sort of stuff. So yes, it keeps you communicating, takes some strategy, generally plays in a little over an hour, and is very fun.

A similar but much lighter game is Red November. It's another one of my faves.

I'll also throw out Beowulf: The Legend and Beowulf: The Movie Board Game. It's just a coincidence that they both have a Beowulf theme - they're VERY different games. Plus you can find the second one for $5 at Half-Price Books right now

Hope that helps. I'm sure you'll get plenty of great suggestions.

EDIT:
Forgot to mention this - LOTR also has downtime between boards. Nice places to pause and refill your soda and whatnot.
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Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
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Tigris & Euphrates
El Grande
Tower of Babel
Ra
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Diane H
United States
Lake Orion
Michigan
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I second Lord of the Rings and Ra,,maybe throw in Kingsburg or Stone Age
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Ben R
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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cosine wrote:


+1
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Kevin B. Smith
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Mercer Island
Washington
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jadzianess wrote:
I second Lord of the Rings and Ra,,maybe throw in Kingsburg or Stone Age

And oddly the OP has marked LotR, Ra, and Stone Age as "Don't Buy". It would be nice to understand the reasons, so we could provide more relevant recommendations.

(Edit: and Red November and Citadels and Kingsburg and Stone Age)
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Eric O. LEBIGOT
France
Versailles
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peakhope wrote:
jadzianess wrote:
I second Lord of the Rings and Ra,,maybe throw in Kingsburg or Stone Age

And oddly the OP has marked LotR, Ra, and Stone Age as "Don't Buy". It would be nice to understand the reasons, so we could provide more relevant recommendations.

(Edit: and Red November and Citadels and Kingsburg and Stone Age)
Wow! you did do your research.


The fact that I marked these games as "Don't buy" shows that they are good recommendations: they sparked my interest enough that I studied their reviews diligently!


You raise a good question. The short answer is that I marked these games as "Don't buy" because of some big no-no issue that I gathered from posted reviews and comments. For instance, Lord of the Rings seems to be a little dull (even a player who likes it said that he would never play two games back to back): not too much "fun" (item 1). As for Stone Age, I was afraid that it would mostly duplicate Agricola, in the "worker placement category". According to BGG #-players poll, Citadels and Tigris and Euphrates doe not really qualify as "good with 2" (item 4), etc. I could go on (chaos in Red November [not so deep (item 2)]; other, Kingsburg seemingly being dethroned by more recent dice games,…).

Anyway, your question made me add yet another item to the list of constraints: a sense of qualitative progression throughout the game. For instance, I love seeing the farm grow, in Agricola, or the federation getting more and more powerful, in Race for the Galaxy, whereas the "spend your time exchanging the same resources" in Catan leaves me a little bit cold.
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Eric O. LEBIGOT
France
Versailles
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+1 thumbsup to everybody for the suggestions.
 
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Kenny VenOsdel
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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cosine wrote:


If I'm ever in milwaukee I want to play games with you.
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Gabriele Pezzato
Italy
Padova
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Stone Age

1 - are fun & social (interactive)

Quite fun thanks to the pretty theme (you play with little cavemen, there's a stinky leather dice cup, there's even a "love shack" for reproduction) and play mechanics (dice are fun). Interaction in the game is limited to some blocking, but all the times I've played there's always been a lot of chatter and jokes between players, like someone bashing their little workers for not bringing home enough wood and such...

2 - are deep, strategic and tactical
Ok, it's not Agricola or Caylus, but there's a good amount of strategic options and different tactics to use. The sense of accomplishment when you get a certain hut or the card you need to complete your set is quite high. Luck factor is present but in a good way and ensures that everyone, even inexperienced players, can get a chance to do good.

3 - have little downtime
By experience, the options in play are very clear so there's little to no analysis-paralysis. Players play their turns very quickly.

3' [added] - give a sense of qualitative progression or variety (seeing a farm grow, facing a rich variety of threats like in Magic: The Gathering,…)
You certainly need to use a little imagination, but there actually is a sense of progression in the game, above all when you add little cavemen, increase the number of tools, improve your agriculture/food production. Everything is coherent and makes sense: your tribe grows and your civilization improves.

4 - are good with 2-4 players (very good with 2 players would be OK, but only good with 4 players only would not, as my gaming group is small)
Little rule changes ensure that Stone Age plays excellently with any combination of players, fro 2 to 4. One of the more efficiently scalable games I've played.

5 - play in under 90 minutes (2 hours might be OK)
Playtime is always between 60-90 minutes, independent from the number of players
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Chris Palmarozzi
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Austin
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How about La Città? Seems to fit what you are looking for. The only concern is that it plays 30 min per player so it will stretch to 2 hours with 4. It also plays up to 5 and because the map size is different based on player count, it scales well. It's definitely interactive, strategic, tactical, low to medium downtime, and you see cities grow which is awesome so lots of qualitative progression is there too.
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Dick Blaskowitz
United States
manhattan
New York
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I find stone age falls really flat, and don't see the need for it if you have agricola.

Would definitely not buy cyclades to play with 2.
 
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James 3
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Atlanta
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el grande is great, but ive only played it with 4, and hear it isnt so great with less. not sure it works with 2.

I like Ascension quite a bit personally as a 2 player game. its deeper than you think upon first play, but not as deep as the other stuff you are referencing, so maybe not a fit. I also have stone age and like it.

i want to try hansa teutonica, i hear its a great game with depth and strategy, but i have no experience with it. check it out?
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