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Subject: Looking for that Level 2 Gateway game rss

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henry k
United States
Los Angeles
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I have friends willing, if not exactly champing at the bit, to play board games with me. The problem is, while I like the euros folks on here love so well, they don't seem to be doing much for my friends. So I'm looking for a game that's clever enough to keep me happy, while giving my friends a little more excitement and conflict.

We've had great success with two games: Catan and The Resistance. Here's what I think the appeal is:
• Chattiness. Both games encourage a lot of talking, both friendly and trash. This is great!
• Little downtime. We are not patient. These games keep players involved, even when it's not their turn.
• Dramatic turns. Both games give every player a moment in the spotlight, where they become the most important player at the table.
• Decisive victories. None of this "The games over! Now lets all count our victory points and find out who won." We want a tense, exciting end!

I've tried some other games, all of which I like, but are just not suited for my friends:
Cosmic Encounter. So close! But too much chaos, too much randomness, and, while not being particularly complicated, too awkward and inelegant. People ended up feeling frustrated, and even after several plays, not particularly fond of the game.
Small World. Too dry. We all took our turns, added up our points at the end. No drama, no won cared.
Carcassonne. Same problem as Small World.
Agricola/Race for the Galaxy/Tigris & Euphrates. Sigh. Why did I even try?

So here's what I'm hoping to find: a game a bit meatier than Catan or the Resistance, but with similar levels of interaction and excitement. What do you think?
 
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henry k
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And I don't want to limit recommendations to these games, but I'm interested in Cyclades, Chaos in the World, Escape from Atlantis, and Pompeii, among others. And I'm friends with a lot of history nerds, so historical themes are plus, but not a requirement.
 
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Guillermo Hernandez
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Albuquerque
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7 wonders has worked fabulously as a gateway game at every level and type of person to get/excite into boardgames.
 
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Daniel Corban
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Newmarket
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I suggest:
Dream Factory
Hoity Toity
Quo Vadis?
Lifeboats

While 7 Wonders is a decent game for new players, it has none of the qualities requested. It has no chatting, sometimes a lot of downtime, tame turns, and no dramatic ending whatsoever.
 
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いい竹やぶだ!

South Euclid
Ohio
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Lifeboats was a big hit in our group for all the reasons you mention, although I'm not sure I'd call it "meatier" than, say, Settlers.
 
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Frank M.
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Defenders of the Realm and Lords of Vegas are well worth a look!
 
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Andrew Nichols
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Along the same lines as survive is Eruption. Both games have lots of interaction and work very well with non-gamers. My family sounds much like your game group and both games went over great
 
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Madhujith Venkatakrishna
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How about Genoa- One of the best negotiation games and has enough meat and strategy in it as well.

Modern Art- IMO the best auction game, tons of interaction and has very good depth.

The Princes of Florence- The auction round is super fun and an extremely tight game play.

Ra though being very simple is a very good game to try.

You should also take a look at El Grande- simple but lots of in your face action and fun!

As weird as it might seem Power Grid is very good. I know it might be a long drawn affair, but the rules are not that complex if your group can play Catan. This can be very very tense and closely contested.
 
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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+1 Power Grid

And maybe you should have a look at Brass: Lancashire too.
 
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MGS
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Kingsburg is by far my most successful next step game. It is beautiful, thematic, fast paced, tense and with a very clever use of the dice. The buildings and players' mats require some familiarity which is easy to pick up but certainly makes it a step up game.

If you are really looking for something meatier and more complex and involved, you may want to try Agricola or Puerto Rico.
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James
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Man is most nearly himself when he achieves...
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We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
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I just recommended this in another thread but it suits you as well.

Chaos in the Old World really deserves your consideration. It does have VP's, but those aren't the only means of victory and it's anything but dry. It offers plenty of dramatic turns, players rotate playing during one big "group turn" and it's asymmetric, so each side plays and feels differently. Expect lots of trash talking and plenty of "Muhahaha's" as each player finds clever ways to undercut every other player's thought-to-be unassailable plans for victory.
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TS S. Fulk
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Arkham Horror, Ghost Stories and Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game are all co-ops (BSG has a traitor like The Resistance) and should encourage talking while giving you an epic victory or defeat.
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henry k
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Wow, these are lots of great suggestions. The negotiation games in particular sound like they would be great for us. I'm reading up on Quo Vadis and Genoa. I'd love to play Power Grid and El Grande and Chaos in the Old World, but it's really hard to tell how those games would go over.
 
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James Palmer
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Ayr
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I second the recommendation for Battlestar Galactica. It fits every one of your criteria perfectly.
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meepleonboard
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Perhaps Stone Age is worth consideration. Hidden cards can fundamentally change the perception of who is ahead as well, so nobody need feel hard done by during the game. Lightish fodder but with mass appeal. And a little bit of history too...

...just about.
 
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Greg Jones
United States
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Race for the Galaxy, maybe, for the theme. It's a little light on conflict. Maybe with the Rebels vs. Imperium expansion.

Vegas Showdown - Non-dry theme. Conflict and excitement if they can see those things in bidding. To me, outbidding somebody on a critical tile is good "pwnage".

Imperial, if they can handle somewhat complex rules. If you're looking for that "You sank my Battleship!" moment, it has it. Not when you sink battleships, which happens all the time, but when you grab control of somebody's country for a big tax bonus or to totally misuse it in a devastating maneuver.

Web of Power / China. Or any area-majority Euro. Taking away somebody's majority is the closest most Euros come to "You sank my Battleship!"
 
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