Nick DBest
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Hello everyone,

having a great time browsing this Recommendations section. Our group of friends/gamers is currently looking at investing in additional games. We'd love to have the recommendations/comments of some of you regarding our future acquisitions. We're usually 3-5 players, although we appreciate options for an occasional larger group (ie. a surprise 6th player, or a party game).

To give you some context, here is our groups profile and games currently own:

Puerto Rico- our ultimate classic and perhaps favorite thus far, although we've played it a lot and finding ourselves not craving a PR game as often anymore. Also, analysis paralysis can be a tad bit annoying here.

Settlers of Catan- our previous "classic" game, haven't really played it in recent years, although it is still respected.

Space Alert- our most recent acquisition. I, for one, absolutely love the mechanics, the pure "chaos", the replayability factor. The short length allows it also to be played several times + coop play is a nice change of pace from our other games.

Risk- another classic, completely different.. enjoy it when we just feel like trash talking / cutting each others throat, while having a beer. A bit random and somewhat brainless though.

Agricola- rarely played... the game has irritated/disappointed some of our players initially (lack of pieces representing resources, lots of maintenance required to refill the various resources on the board, some downtime, ect). Need to play more to appreciate it?

Diplomacy- Great "backstabbing" game, but difficult to have sufficient players interested / or enough time to actually play it regularly.

Werewolf- Simple yet fantastic "party" game, when played with motivated people. Great interaction/intrigue. Only setback is that you need at least 8-9 ppl for a proper game.

Scotland Yard- Oldy but still goody... Not played much anymore but game mechanic is interesting enough to warrant replays on occasion

Mare Nostrum- Surprisingly fun and perhaps underrated game, good mix of trading/building/battles, although I am very annoyed w/ some issues (for instance, I find the ships are a bit useless vs. land units... strange for a game called Mare Nostrum and centered around the Mediterranean)

We'd love to add some variety / new mechanics or themes to this collection. We tend to enjoy games with mid to heavy interaction between players. Our favorite length would be around 90-120 mins, although we would love to have additional options for shorter games (see Space Alert) as well as longer, more epic games (max 4-5 hours).

Any suggestions / comments / warnings / personal experiences will be appreciated. Some titles that interested us were:
Imperial (interesting theme+mechanic, appropriate weight and time, 2-6 players)
Descent (very different from what we own. Semi-coop is a refreshing twist)
Dominion (seems popular... is it too light?)
Race for the Galaxy (Puerto Rico "improved" + a different theme?)
Twilight Imperium (good for those occasional Epic games... + I loved Master of Orion 2)
Pitch Car (completely different mechanic, good for a change of pace)
Arkham Horror (the ultimate coop game?)
Battlestar Galactica (the ultimate coop with a traitor game?)
Power Grid (not sure but it is remarkably popular and stands the test of time it seems)
Cosmic Encounter (good for a "shorter" game alternative? don't know much about it)
Pandemic
Carson City
Innovation
Automobile
Defenders of the Realm
Alien Frontiers
Chaos of the Old World (good for confrontations / battles?)
The Resistance (we appreciate Werewolf.. this seems appropriate for slightly smaller groups eg. 5-10 peeps)
Through the Ages (epic games + loved Civilization series on PC)
... Other?

Thanks!
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Brook Gentlestream
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nickdbest wrote:
Dominion (seems popular... is it too light?)

It is a bit light, so its easy to pick up, but it can be pretty fun. Like many card games, it scales really well (up to 4 players). This is one of the few games I own that can be played as a group, but is just as fun with 2 players. It's recommended not to play at 5-6 (you'll need the expansion to do so) only because it can take awhile to get around to your turn. What I really like about this game is that you pick which cards to use everytime you play, so there's a "let's do that again, but try swapping this option out" aspect every time you play. While a lot of people will point out that it can be very interactive (if you play with those rules), it doesn't really support politics/negotiation. For example, when you "attack" in this game, you attack all other players simultaneously.

nickdbest wrote:
Twilight Imperium (good for those occasional Epic games... + I loved Master of Orion 2)

Epic and awesome! I can't stress that enough. Three warnings though:
1) Collection of funky mechanics. Movement is weird. Role selection, like Puerto Rico. Voting. You have a spending budget every turn instead of money. Expanding objectives over time, some of which are private and secret. Rules can change in the middle of a game, based on politics and voting. Command counters limit how many actions you can take, but these can be saved up.
2) Our last game took 9 hours. That was with the expansions, but even with the base game, we've never played a game with less than 8 hours. Did I mention this game was epic?
3) It looks a lot like a wargame, but its not. It's a civ development game with massive fleets. Most of the time you don't even do much fighting, but rather built up fleets as a deterrant to being invaded. At the same time, there are some mechanics that encourage all players to take and hold the center of the board during the second half of the game. Still, the game isn't about territory, it's about scoring victory points, so you really have to watch how your opponents are getting those.


nickdbest wrote:
Arkham Horror (the ultimate coop game?)

No, Arkham Horror is not the ultimate co-op game. It's fun, and it includes a lot of cards and pieces for a lot of replayability. Several characters to play and Old Ones to fight against, for example. Some warnings:
1) Some spells & weapons can be so powerful as to overshadow other aspects of your character once they are acquired.
2) Many people complain the game feels way too random, especially with the "events" from various locations that can just inflict stuff upon your character. There are far more bad events than good events.
3) Although there are mechanics to take loans, get jobs, have random events, and do other stuff in the city -- usually, players are almost never doing these things because there's such a need to have everyone running around closing portals and picking up clues. Location events are rarely drawn because a personal random event that is likely to be bad is never going to look attractive compared to a certain advantage that helps the group. And that's kind of a shame.


nickdbest wrote:
Battlestar Galactica (the ultimate coop with a traitor game?)

This has become my favorite game, but I don't own it. Another player in my group does, however, and I opt for playing this every chance I get. The strategy is a bit subtle, especially compared to Arkham Horror, so parts of it can seem utterly random until you start getting some of the basic strategies down, which some people on this board had to help me with. (I had trouble, for example, with how to deduce that another player was the secret traitor. Some players had to point me to the "clues", and I pointed them out to my group, and we've had a lot more fun since then.) I recommend this for almost everybody. The base game plays very quickly and relatively lightly, while each expansion adds tons of options that can add complexity, depth, and play length to the game.


Hope I could help a little. Feel free to ask any questions.
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William
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Only played a few of your games, and the only one I really like on the list is Diplomacy, but I haven't played it in a long time for reasons you mentioned. I didn't really like Puerto Rico for whatever reason, and Settlers is just meh for me. Risk just drags and is overly mindless. Werewolf is fun.

Ok, so thats where I am coming from.

On your list, games I really like:

Dominion: Its light, but its fun, and very replayable. Lots of fun. Highly recommended. Not sure about playing with 5-6 though. Can play online so have people try it. Player interaction is highly variable depending on cards in the game.

Race for the Galaxy: Really like this as well. Deeper than Dominion but its different. I believe with expansions you can fit up to 6. The symbols used aren't tough to get used to, but they do take a bit. Ultimately they are a huge help for the game. Loved it, and San Juan was meh for me. Solo version can be downloaded and played. Not a lot of player interaction.

Battlestar Galactica: I think this would be a hit with your group. Its better if you have seen the show, but its still great. Tough to win, traitors lurking around.

Power Grid: Probably my favorite game. Its not too complex but can subject players to AP. Scales well. There is

Pandemic: A great co-op minus the traitor (unless you get the expansion). A good bit of fun.

The Resistance I just recently got and loved it.

Other games that my group likes that I think would fit:

7 Wonders: Just got this. More or less deserving of the hype. Lots of paths to victories. Plays quick. Easy to pick up. Lots of fun. Might work better for your group than Dominion (though I like Dominion more).

There isn't a train game to be found! Ticket to Ride is fantastic (pick a flavor). May not have enough interaction and might be too light. If so, Chicago Express is great with its depth and complexity for its play time (about an hour). Steam is great as well.

And narry an auction game. I think Modern Art is great and a fantastic value. Easy to play (and quick) but you appreciate more and more the more you play. Vegas Showdown is another auction game.

Citadels sounds like it would be a hit with your group.

Acquire/Airlines Europe for a share owning style game.

I think though if I had to pick one that I have played from your list, Battlestar Galactica would be the game.
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Tom Steynen
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I just bought Cash 'n Guns which seems to fit. I haven't had the chance to try it out though so I can't say much more.
 
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Richard Clarke
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Get Resistance, this always gets played when there are 5 people or more at my game sessions. It is the best of that kind I have played.

Powergrid is very good and stands up to six people but also plays well with less.

Two not on your list that you should be investigating are El Grande and Chaos in the Old World, though neither will do 6 they are both strong for 4-5 players. (CitOW needs expansion for 5) Both strong on interaction.
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Clyde W
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Based on player count, what you already own, and what's already interested you, I suggest:

nickdbest wrote:
Imperial (interesting theme+mechanic, appropriate weight and time, 2-6 players)
Cosmic Encounter (good for a "shorter" game alternative? don't know much about it)
Chaos of the Old World (good for confrontations / battles?)
The Resistance (we appreciate Werewolf.. this seems appropriate for slightly smaller groups eg. 5-10 peeps)
Through the Ages (epic games + loved Civilization series on PC)
... Other?


+1 to the Modern Art suggestion, as it's sort of the ultimate bidding game, but also consider Ra for a different flavor of bidding. I prefer MA by a nosehair, but love them both.
 
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Shadow Hunters is a simple, fun, and highly interactive game that plays well with 5-8 players.
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Monica Elida Forssell
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I like very much Jamaica and Pirates Cove. They are quite interactive games. Also Munchkin. Very fun card game, but not too much interactive. Tsuro is also a good, and quick, interactive game
 
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For maximum interaction (probably the most I've ever seen):

Genoa
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Nick DBest
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These are great comments and suggestions, thank you so much. It helps a lot with our upcoming selection. A few comments / questions:

Resistance: Will definitely get it, most ppl seem to enjoy it a lot and this gives us a new option for this unusual range of # players.

Twilight Imperium: This seems to be a must for Epics indeed.. I know that we might not get a lot of bang for the buck here since it'll be tough to have more than a few sessions per year due to time issues, but still, your descriptions make me drool and want it +++ laugh

Battlestar Galactica: Will look to get it as well, even though I am not familiar with the TV series. Might suit us a bit more than Arkham as far as COOP goes... Only obstacle now is that the gameshop is Back Order ! Perhaps Pandemic + expansion could be a substitute if B/O is not resolved soon?

Race for the Galaxy: Looks like it'll be on our shopping list as well. Between Dominion and RotG, might as well go for the deeper option. Puerto Rico comparisons ensures that the group won't dislike, so it's a safe bet cool

Power Grid: still on the fence on this one.. It looks like great bang for the buck, but the AP issue worries me. Still, I'm sure it would be a very solid addition

Ticket to Ride: I really enjoy this game and played online quite a bit. We played once w/ the group with a borrowed set, and for some reason it didn't catch on with most players (a bit too light perhaps?). Perhaps the Europe map would be more appropriate. Anyways, I agree that a Rails game would be a must for our collection... Will look into Chicago Express and Age of Steam.

Modern Art: Actually, I bought MA as a gift for one of the friends/gamers and he lost it while moving, before we could even play one game (!?!). gulp A bit reluctant to buy once again, although it keeps coming back as a top Auction game, a mechanic that I always find interesting.

Acquire/Airline Europe: I love the idea of owning at least one share holding kind of game... I will look into these to learn more.

Chaos in the Old World vs. El Grande: Supercharged interaction games are a definite win, so I'll try to choose between these 2. Would you say that CitOW is more battle oriented? This might be the clincher as it would provide an outlet for the few in our group that love to live and die by the sword

Citadels: Great to have recommendations on this one, I didn't see that one coming. I sort of looked over it in the past, assuming it was too "light" or maybe that it didn't age well. This is another potential good bang for the buck, I'll add it for consideration!

Cash N Guns: Intrigued by this one.. very different, which is always nice. Assumed it was a bit light, perhaps too light? (not necessarly a flaw, one needs different kinds of games in a collection, for sure)

Shadow Hunters and Revolution!: Never heard of these before, so I will certainly dig and look into it!

Imperial/Imperial 2030: Will most likely get it (unless there are any major bad experiences from those of you who played it), I'm just too intrigued by the theme/mechanic

Die Macher: Not mentioned before... I know it's pretty much out of print and heard it is basically suicide to try and play a full game. But if any of you have heard of a game that might have a similar "feel" or gaming experience, albeit perhaps a tad bit more accessible and shorter, let me know! Not sure if that exists, since DM looks very unique according to what I've read on these boards
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Nick DBest
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Cool, I had thought about GENOA, but didn't know interaction was a major strength of this game. Good to know! Plus, I love the theme.

JAMAICA looks nice, but was afraid that it was a bit too light/newbie oriented to be satisfying? Love the Pirates theme though. Perhaps the recent Merchants and Marauders would be a good fit for us, in the same theme? I read some mixed reviews, but the BGG score is high
 
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Craig Liken
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Chaos in the Old World definitely has more of a battle component than El Grande, which is a more classic euro. I love Euros like Puerto Rico etc, and recently tried Chaos and really enjoyed it. Great game (needs the expansion for 5 players) - the variable players powers and different goals for each player make it really interesting - I think it would be a good fit for your group. It is certainly not like many other games.

I'd not necessarily endorse RFTG just because you like Puerto Rico. I love Puerto Rico, but couldn't really get into Race at all (and I have played it 10 or 12 times). PR is much more interactive in my experience - although to be fair I understand that the interactivty in Race improves as players improve.

Genoa is all about interaction - as it is pretty much 100%trading/negotiating/dealing with the other players. I personally found it too much interaction for me - and find myself exhausted at the end of it. Personally I'd prefer a game that has a similar trade/other stuff balance to say Settlers.

I suspect you would find Jamaica a bit light - it is fun, but pretty light.

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Miles Ratcliffe
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Have a look at my game Medieval Mastery; it may be just what you're looking for! It is a very fun, tactical game of medieval conquest, is very easy to learn, accommodates 2-6 players, has a great replay value and plays in under an hour. The first edition copies of the game are currently available though it is also looking good for a much wider release leading into the new year.
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Nick DBest
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liken@xtra.co.nz wrote:


Genoa is all about interaction - as it is pretty much 100%trading/negotiating/dealing with the other players. I personally found it too much interaction for me - and find myself exhausted at the end of it. Personally I'd prefer a game that has a similar trade/other stuff balance to say Settlers.



Great point; indeed, there is such a thing as "interaction paralysis" I believe, a point where negotiations for instance cease to be fun and become tedious and exhausting. A battle of endurance.

Thank you for the clarifications on Jamaica, Genoa, RftG and CitOW! Much appreciated
 
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Nick DBest
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golddmaster wrote:
Have a look at my game Medieval Mastery; it may be just what you're looking for! It is a very fun, tactical game of medieval conquest, is very easy to learn, accommodates 2-6 players, has a great replay value and plays in under an hour. The first edition copies of the game are currently available though it is also looking good for a much wider release leading into the new year.


Thank you for the recommendation Mr. Ratcliffe. I'm curious regarding the game; which other game(s) inspired you? How would you compare it vs. others on the market?
 
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Seth Brown
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Dominion (seems popular... is it too light?)
-- Not necessarily. Once you add in the expansions, the game gets reasonably robust. Base set alone, however, may not be interactive enough for your group. You might consider Nightfall instead.

Race for the Galaxy (Puerto Rico "improved" + a different theme?)
-- Takes a few times to learn, but yes, this is a good one with tons of replay value.

Arkham Horror (the ultimate coop game?)
-- Hardly. A lot of randomness without much to do about it leaves this in the middle of the co-op sphere, and one I'd skip in favor of Pandemic (also on your list).

Battlestar Galactica (the ultimate coop with a traitor game?)
-- I think it takes longer than necessary and Shadows over Camelot is better in that genre. Then again, it's not my favorite genre.

Power Grid (not sure but it is remarkably popular and stands the test of time it seems)
-- A good game, to be sure, but may go a bit long with 5-6 players.

Innovation
-- Wacky, but to my mind inferior to its cousin Glory to Rome.

If you like Space Alert, you might consider another real-time game, like Galaxy Trucker, or Wok Star.
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I think you should just get Power Grid. It's a fantastic game and if you are already playing games like Puerto Rico, Agricola, and Settlers I think Power Grid is a logical game to add to your collection for Euros.

Battlestar Galactica is also one of my favorites. The first two games are definitely learning experiences that can go really slow, but becomes a lot more fun as you get a bit more experience. Also if anyone is a fan of the show they will love how well the feel is incorporated into the game.

If you are looking at Pandemic do yourself a favor and just pick up Defenders of the Realm. Pandemic is a bit too light for your tastes. With modified rules you can play it 6 players, but I find that too crowded. Works well enough with 5 players.

Navegador is one I enjoy that I think you should take a look at. Plays up to five and is better with more players in my opinion.

Like Seth said, if you like the frantic play and fun theme of Space Alert you should also take a look at Galaxy Trucker. I just played it for the first time this weekend and loved it. If I'm not mistaken there's a 5 player expansion for it. Basically the game has 2 parts. The first is a real time tile placing game where you are building a space ship with lasers, habitation pods, jets, storage, and so on. Then for the second part you race around the galaxy picking up cargo hoping you ship survives and earns you some money. Very fun.
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nickdbest wrote:
Thank you for the recommendation Mr. Ratcliffe. I'm curious regarding the game; which other game(s) inspired you? How would you compare it vs. others on the market?

You can check out my designer diary here: Designer Diary: Medieval Mastery
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Imperial or 2030: Good game deep but simple to play. Despite the armies this is a stock market game and needs to be played as such.


Dominion: Good, might require a nastier deck for you folks 2-4 players.

Twilight Imperium: 8hr + will it get played? Good game with mecanics you will be recognise.

Arkham Horror: i think this is a very poor game albeit in an amazing production. Way too much luck and limited decision making.

Battlestar Galactica:yup worth playing, the experence rocks the game is quite repetitive. If your mates are up for getting into character it can be very good.

Power Grid: Flat when compared to Puerto Rico. One repetitive path to victory.

Cosmic Encounter: great game - so many options. Needs 4+

Pandemic: the best coop! 2-4, simple elegant.

Defenders of the Realm: Pandemic inelegant copy to my mind.

Chaos of the Old World: good game... Oddly more Euro than amerit
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Saboteur and the expansion Saboteur 2 will be a hit.
 
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Based on your description of what you are looking for, I think that Power Grid and Imperial are definite must-haves. Both are heavy, interesting games with lots of strategy and a good bit of interaction.

I would be wary of Dominion interaction is important to you, as I think it is about the least interactive of all the top BGG games. Even if you play with the "attack" cards, they are all (to the best of my knowledge) untargeted, so there is essentially no way to really mess with the another player. Seven Wonders (you only interact with the two people sitting beside you) and RftG (I only played it once, so my opinion is somewhat uninformed, but it seemed quite a bit less interactive than Puerto Rico to me) might also deserve a pause for similar reasons.

For something a bit shorter and lighter I would definitely second (or third or whatever) the recommendation of Modern Art. Also, for an interesting auction game sort of between Modern Art and Power Grid in complexity, I would suggest Santiago.

Also, while I am not myself the biggest fan of Acquire (too much luck for me), it is a well-respected game that may fit the bill for you pretty well.
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nickdbest wrote:
Battlestar Galactica: Will look to get it as well, even though I am not familiar with the TV series. Might suit us a bit more than Arkham as far as COOP goes... Only obstacle now is that the gameshop is Back Order ! :( Perhaps Pandemic + expansion could be a substitute if B/O is not resolved soon?


Pandemic is a lot shorter, so it's easier to get a few rounds in, but I personally prefer BSG in every respect except length. Pandemic feels more like a puzzle where there's a best move every turn, Battlestar feels like you're trying to mitigate whatever crisis is happening right now.

Quote:
Ticket to Ride: I really enjoy this game and played online quite a bit. We played once w/ the group with a borrowed set, and for some reason it didn't catch on with most players (a bit too light perhaps?). Perhaps the Europe map would be more appropriate. Anyways, I agree that a Rails game would be a must for our collection... Will look into Chicago Express and Age of Steam.


Ticket to Ride is pretty light as played by most, but I hear you can play it in a pretty cutthroat manner- explicitly cutting others off and whatnot.

Quote:
Cash N Guns: Intrigued by this one.. very different, which is always nice. Assumed it was a bit light, perhaps too light? (not necessarly a flaw, one needs different kinds of games in a collection, for sure)


It's very light, and I consider it a bit more than filler for my group. It's fun, but hard to take seriously.

Other stuff from your list: Alien Frontiers is a very good game, but it does cap at 4, and an AP-prone player can slow it down a lot. (Apparently the expansion under development allows for a fifth player) I love Cosmic Encounter, and it's very interactive. It tends to be shorter than most Euros, but the length can vary based on the players and the aliens in play.
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Chinatown is a great game with lots of interaction (trading).

Power Grid is also phenominal.

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Exile Sun may be one to keep on your radar.

Plays in +/- 3 hours, intensly interactive and competitive, decoy fleets, hidden information, lots of relvant strategic decisions. The thing I think that is the most successful about the game it the fact that it is not too hard to recover from losses, so the game stays interesting and you don't fall too far behind.

This may be a longer term reccomendation as the game is about to go to kickstarter, but keep an eye out.

(sorry about the multiple posts)
 
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Seriously, I'm going to be the first person to suggest Dominant Species? Wow ...
It's worth your consideration at the very least.

That being said, I would have to push you towards The Resistance (for the price, it is huge value for money) and Battlestar Galactica. I own BSG, prefer Shadows Over Camelot myself, but know more people seem to like BSG. I'm also avoiding pushing my own perspective on you because you've listed a few games I dislike a fair bit, so our tastes are clearly not entirely the same. HOWEVER, I have yet to play a game of The Resistance where everyone didn't love it. Fun to toss around, an astounding party game, and always, always full of laughs.

I'm also a large fan of Chaos in the Old World, but the player situation is a bit hairy on that ... I tend to prefer the base game to the expansion, but my experience with both is limited, and without the latter you won't hit 5 players. Still an excellent game.
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