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Subject: Heavier than "light", but lighter than "heavy" rss

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Richard Martin
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Hey all,

So I recently got a friend and his wife into gaming and they seem to be enjoying it quite a bit (him, more than her). We were talking about putting together his first game order and I was trying to come up with a good set of games.

We've been playing together for a few months now and I've introduced him to quite a wide range (I think) of games. The games, in the order in which we played them are:
- Settlers of Catan
- Power Grid
- Quarriors
- Lords of Vegas
- Claustrophobia
- 7 wonders
- Chaos in the Old World
- Urban Sprawl
- Age of Gods
- Citadels
- Small World
- Stone Age

So as you can see, there are some gateway games in there, along with some heavier ones. They seem to be open to all types of games, but here are some conditions/restrictions I was thinking of

- They need not be gateway games, but they shouldn't be really long and complex either. That way he can try them out on his other non-gamer family/friends.
- Since this will be his first time reading rules and teaching the game to others, the game shouldn't be rules-heavy
- Theme is not the most important thing, but one should exist and should integrate well with the mechanics
- Shouldn't be prone to AP and shouldn't be multiplayer solitaire

So far this is what I am considering
- Ticket to Ride: Europe + India (Great game. Easy to learn/teach. Plus, we're Indian, so they should enjoy the India map a lot)
- Galaxy Trucker (A lot of fun, the one time I played it, so I figure it would be a good fit)

Are there any other suggestions. I'm maybe looking for a total of 3-4 games for one order (about $100+ to get free shipping).

Thanks a lot!
Richard
 
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Jeffrey L.
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Mondo over Galaxy Trucker, cute animals and pretty maps vs space theme
Fresco if they like art.
Alhambra is a fine choice.
Olympos for a civ building kind of game
Samurai for an area control game
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Shane Larsen
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Navegador fits your criteria. It's a wonderful game. Easy rules, deep game play, works well at all player counts (including 2 player), and theme is there but it's a Euro so...; just a lot of goodness coming out of this one. Additionally, the rondel mechanic is a mechanic I should have learned a lot earlier in my gaming years.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Galaxy Trucker is really fun. A great intro into the world of Vlaada--which is a wonderful world.
Hansa Teutonica - Simple rules; deep, tense game play. Not recommended with two.
El Grande - Good at 4 and 5 players. Not recommended at all with 2. Very easy rules, very tense and deep game play.
Puerto Rico - It's a classic for a reason.

Those are the top recommendations I can think of off the cuff. I hope this helps. Good luck and have fun!
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M K
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+1 for Samurai. "light" from a set-up, understanding perspective...plays quickly...lots of good thinking though so I consider it a lot "heavier" than TtR for instance.
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David Debien
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+2 for El Grande (requires 4+ players to be good)
+1 for Puerto Rico
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Ludovic Roy
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Eminent Domain over Race For the Galaxy if you'd like to introduce the concept of Deck Building as well as play a space themed card game.
Jaipur for a nice 2 player game
Ninjato over Stone Age for a Ninja themed light Euro
Dice Town is also a very nice little game
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Kevin B. Smith
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-1 for El Grande. Chaotic, confusing, leader-bashing, king-making. Just saying it's great for some people, but not everyone.
 
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David Dawson
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I've always felt that Puerto Rico hits this exact sweet spot. It's actually kind of frustrating when I'm trying to find other games, because Puerto Rico is so perfect for it, and it's a tough balance to manage in a game.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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I enjoy these kinds of games, too.

-1 Puerto Rico: It's a decent game, but I'm not sure it should be anyone's first game. Maybe his third.


For light-to-medium-weight, interactive, easily-teachable, somewhat-thematic games, I recommend the following:

Evo - a strategic rules-light game about creating a race of dinosaurs. What's cool about it is at the end of each turn, players bid on "genes", which evolve their dinosaurs and let you move, breed, or survive better. Most of the game involves placing (or occasionally) moving dinosaurs onto particular terrain. A climate board tells you what kind of terrain are about to become dangerous and what kind are about to be safe. It's lots of fun and very simple to teach. 3-5 players, although I have posted a custom 2-player variant. (The new edition is 2-5 players, but I've been told it doesn't play well at 2 players without using some sort of variant.)


Dominion - A card game with only four basic rules and lots of replay value. The box comes with 50 different piles of "kingdom cards", only 10 of which will be used in any given game. It is a deck building game, so while the cards are simple to use, learn, and execute, the actual strategies of what kind of cards to fill up your deck and how many of each to get can be tricky, since every card bought effects the probability of your next card draw. This has been a hit with everyone I've shown it to. I recommend buying the basic set and (any) one expansion. It also makes for a good 2 player game. 2-4 players. This one is a bit light in theme, since the emphasis is on the cards and the interaction of relatively simple mechanics.


Modern Art - a fun and portable bidding game for 3-5 players. In this game, each player bids on various "art pieces" using one of several styles of bidding (open auction, once-around-the-table, blind auction, etc.). At the end of each round, the value of each painting is based on the number of similiar paintings purchased by all players -- the its the players and their bidding that actually determines the value. Simple rules, but a little bit of psych warfare thrown in. This one is a bit light in theme -- it's mostly an excuse to be bidding in auctions. The whole game is auctions. I've played this at restaurants while waiting for food.


The Resistance is the premier go-to gave if you have more than 4 players handy. It's simple and easy to teach, more gritty and less silly than other party games, but lots of fun that primarily involves interacting with other players. You are a group of spies deciding who will go on a mission, but one or more of you is a traitor who wants to be selected to go on the missions so he can sabotage them. Where do your loyalties lie?

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Imp Rovius
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Galaxy Trucker can be polarizing, so as much as I personally like it, I'd -1 it here.

A game a played recently that would probably fit is Ninjato. It's a good mix of thematic and euro, and is pretty easy to teach after just a single playthrough.
 
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Philip Pack
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Chicago Express is my suggestion. It's easy to learn and teach. It plays in about 60 minutes for 2-6 players. It's not overly heavy, but there's lots of strategies available to learn and test as you grow with the game. And interaction with your opponents is there, but nothing too cut throat or aggressive.
 
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Kathy Sheets
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These are all fun, easy to learn, good replayability and plays well through all player counts.

Finca is fun, really easy to learn and beautiful. It's my husband's and son's fave.

Ra: The Dice Game is push-your-luck fun with some strategy to it. I think it's our most played game.

Macao is Euro fun, more complex but still easy to learn rules.
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Richard Martin
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

I should have mentioned this earlier, but I'm trying to get him games that I don't already own. So that would eliminate Puerto Rico, The Resistance and Dominion.

I like the Ninjato suggestion, but I heard that its really similar to Stone Age (which I already own).

Other than that, Samurai, Chicago Express, Evo, Macao and Dice Town sound interesting.

P.S. I'm thinking of buying Navegador myself, so thats off the list
 
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Matt Sommer
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lordrahvin wrote:
Dominion - A card game with only four basic rules and lots of replay value. The box comes with 50 different piles of "kingdom cards", only 10 of which will be used in any given game. It is a deck building game, so while the cards are simple to use, learn, and execute, the actual strategies of what kind of cards to fill up your deck and how many of each to get can be tricky, since every card bought effects the probability of your next card draw. This has been a hit with everyone I've shown it to. I recommend buying the basic set and (any) one expansion. It also makes for a good 2 player game. 2-4 players. This one is a bit light in theme, since the emphasis is on the cards and the interaction of relatively simple mechanics.


You must have gotten the deluxe box-- mine only came with 25

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Kevin B. Smith
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mechanikhil wrote:
I like the Ninjato suggestion, but I heard that its really similar to Stone Age (which I already own).

Don't believe everything you hear.

In Ninjato, when you clear out a house, you decide what color takes it over. That decision is based on who has the most "shares" in that color. So it plays somewhat like a stock game, which to me is similar to an area control game. As a result, I think Ninjato has way more player interaction. Also, most of the places you put your workers are non-exclusive (other players can go there too). Plus...no dice.

I like Stone Age, but didn't like Ninjato at all. Mostly because I prefer minimal or subtle player interaction, and Ninjato was more confrontational. As with most direct-interaction games, Ninjato also allowed bash-the-leader and king-making, which I don't like. If I had to pick a game that Ninjato reminded me of, it would be AoE III (aka Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery), although Ninjato is lighter.

Whoever spread the rumor that Ninjato is a lot like Stone Age has done a great disservice to Ninjato (and perhaps to Stone Age as well).
 
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Scott Nelson
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peakhope wrote:
mechanikhil wrote:
I like the Ninjato suggestion, but I heard that its really similar to Stone Age (which I already own).

Don't believe everything you hear.

In Ninjato, when you clear out a house, you decide what color takes it over. That decision is based on who has the most "shares" in that color. So it plays somewhat like a stock game, which to me is similar to an area control game. As a result, I think Ninjato has way more player interaction. Also, most of the places you put your workers are non-exclusive (other players can go there too). Plus...no dice.

I like Stone Age, but didn't like Ninjato at all. Mostly because I prefer minimal or subtle player interaction, and Ninjato was more confrontational. As with most direct-interaction games, Ninjato also allowed bash-the-leader and king-making, which I don't like. If I had to pick a game that Ninjato reminded me of, it would be AoE III (aka Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery), although Ninjato is lighter.

Whoever spread the rumor that Ninjato is a lot like Stone Age has done a great disservice to Ninjato (and perhaps to Stone Age as well).


Ninjato was another in the line of worker placement games that came out that had one or two different things unique to it, but was still advanced-Tribune. I would not say it is like Stone Age except for the cards that score at end of game are in both, and paid for in similar ways. So, Tribune is the game I would compare Ninjato to, though I don't think comparing the game to anything is a good idea. Try it out. If you like it, buy it or have a friend buy it so you can play it. Some of the mechanisms in it felt fiddly at times, less intuitive of the rest of the gameplay.
 
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Luke McCarthy
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Definitely another vote for Galaxy Trucker. Lots of fun. Pretty simple but well worth it. It's on my to-get list currently as well.

Pandemic is a super fun cooperative game. Not difficult or rules-laden, but you'll have your hands full running around trying to cure diseases.

Finally, one game which you probably won't hear a lot about but I would recommend over Ticket to Ride is German Railways. It's almost like Acquire meets Ticket to Ride, but it's got a really interesting turn order mechanism that makes it stand out.
 
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B Mendez
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+1 Pandemic
+1 Stone Age
+1 Finca
Samarkand Routes to Riches instead of Chicago Express
Rattus instead of El Grande
+1 Puerto Rico, or San Juan
Railways of the World: The Card Game
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Jason
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mechanikhil wrote:
- They need not be gateway games, but they shouldn't be really long and complex either. That way he can try them out on his other non-gamer family/friends.
- Since this will be his first time reading rules and teaching the game to others, the game shouldn't be rules-heavy
- Theme is not the most important thing, but one should exist and should integrate well with the mechanics
- Shouldn't be prone to AP and shouldn't be multiplayer solitaire


I'd say Thebes meets these criteria. It's not particularly long, can be played by two to four, and the main mechanic should appeal to non-gamers. Though the English rulebook isn't the clearest thing ever written, the rules are quite simple once understood, and relatively easy to teach. The theme is well supported by the art and is tied to the gameplay better than most games I've played. Some aspects may be slightly prone to AP, but there are enough random elements to make worrying about optimal choices somewhat pointless. It's interactive without being confrontational.
 
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Kathy Sheets
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binaryeye wrote:
mechanikhil wrote:
- They need not be gateway games, but they shouldn't be really long and complex either. That way he can try them out on his other non-gamer family/friends.
- Since this will be his first time reading rules and teaching the game to others, the game shouldn't be rules-heavy
- Theme is not the most important thing, but one should exist and should integrate well with the mechanics
- Shouldn't be prone to AP and shouldn't be multiplayer solitaire


I'd say Thebes meets these criteria. It's not particularly long, can be played by two to four, and the main mechanic should appeal to non-gamers. Though the English rulebook isn't the clearest thing ever written, the rules are quite simple once understood, and relatively easy to teach. The theme is well supported by the art and is tied to the gameplay better than most games I've played. Some aspects may be slightly prone to AP, but there are enough random elements to make worrying about optimal choices somewhat pointless. It's interactive without being confrontational.


This reminds me of another great game: Pergamon which has lots of theme, a fun and simple auction mechanic and simple rules. Plays well, 2-4.
 
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B Mendez
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+1 Thebes
 
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Jeff Forbes

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Bohnanza - Okay, it's very, very light. But it's a fun game, and is probably the sort of thing the lady friend is more likely to have with with. It's also cheap, too!

Tichu is an awesome partnership game. It's a fairly simple trick taking game with a few twists - you can play pairs/sets/straights in addition to single cards, and you can even play out of turn order in a couple cases. If it's oftentimes four of you, and you want to play something rooted in more traditional style card games, Tichu is definitely worth a try.


Modern Art has been mentioned, and it is also a great game. It's very simple - auctions, auctions, auctions. It's a very abstract game, but it is more fun to ham it up when playing MA than most games. Knizia is guilty of a lot of pasted up themes, but his auction games are second to none.

If you desire a board with your auction games, Knizia's Ra and Medici are both worth looking at, too. Ra has more complicated scoring, but is more simplistic in play. Medici is also simple to play - it is incredibly elegant, fun, and works well through 3-5 people. 3 experienced players can knock a game of Medici out in 20-25 minutes, and there's some depth to it for a game of that duration. Strozzi, a distant cousin of Medici, is not great. At least one of the Knizia auction games belongs in every collection. Everyone I know has Ra, and I've got MA and Medici. I tend to prefer games on the medium-heavy side of the spectrum (Through the Ages, Die Macher - fun stuff) - but these games are all very engaging - I enjoy stuff like Stone Age, but engaging, it is not.

Modern Art: Ham it up and role play, and it makes it great.
Ra: Zanier, a nice push your luck element, but still some strategy in there
Medici: Quieter in nature than the above two.

Thebes is a good suggestion. It has simple gameplay without a whole lot of strategy, and the luck factor is pretty high, but it's fun and the theme fits very well. It plays longer than the depth is worthy of, but with some people, this works better than shorter, deeper games.


In the Year of the Dragon might be a good choice too. It's a bit nastier than your average euro and requires some planning. Bad stuff happens to everyone, it's a game of mitigating the bad stuff while helping your score up. It scales quite well from 2-5 players.

Galaxy Trucker is great fun, but it's a bit hit or miss, and it doesn't sit well with everyone when their ship is destroyed three times in a row. Most people I've taught really like it, but others have been totally turned off by it. This game is not for people who hate quick spatial puzzles.



If you want to try something a bit more difficult than Power Grid, but not over the top, try Steam. The basic version is a nice medium weight game. The rules are very simple for the depth of the game, and it handles 3-5 players well, and there's an expansion that will do 2 players. Steam has a fairly tight economy, but there's not much number crunching beyond adding 2 + 3 + 4, so it doesn't need a calculator like Power Grid.

I have had very good luck with newer gamers and the basic version of Steam, I just make sure that they are aware that it is a strategy game, as opposed to a silly one. It'd be a good choice if your friends like quiet contemplation over goofy fun. It's also a game you can grow in to - the full game takes it up a notch and makes the economy aspect of it even tighter, and adds auctions for turn order to salt the wound. You can play it as a lighter game too just by adding another cube to each city on the map compared to what you normally do, which would decrease competition and nastiness.

Oh, I know it's also a very light, but For Sale! is another mandatory game. Just get it.
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Darren M
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Here would be my top suggestions:

1 Dominion
2 El Grande
3 Pandemic
4 The Princes of Florence
5 Ra
6 Commands & Colors: Ancients
7 Ticket to Ride: Europe (great choice)
8 Goa
9 Space Alert
10 Carcassonne
11 Glenn Drover's Empires: The Age of Discovery
12 Dixit
13 Railroad Tycoon
14 Galaxy Trucker
15 The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
16 Crokinole


A great variety of good games there and I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. Of course some will likely be bigger hits than others but that's the same case with experienced gamers as well as with newer gamers
 
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Matt Bowles
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Can't believe no-one's mentioned Tigris & Euphrates yet!!
It's simple to learn, plays quickly and is easy to teach. But it's no very interactive, so you'd have to enjoy solo play. whistle

Anyone spot my intentional mistakes! cool

P.S -1 Macao. I would consider this quite a difficult game to learn first up. It's at least as complicated as Puerto Rico depending on what else you've played, but lots of mechanics in the one game so you'll nearly always be picking up a new one no matter what you've tried before.
 
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