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Subject: Top 10 Strategy Games - beyond gateway rss

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Jeff
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So I'm fairly new to board gaming and I like making lists. I've gotten my list of the 10 or so Gateway games I want to add to my collection that gives me a good variety of accessible games to play with friends and family.

Now I'm wanting to figure out a list of the 'next step' strategy games if you will. These would be strategy games that might take a little longer to play and would involve less randomness. I've come up with a list but would be interested in feedback if I've gotten any of them wrong or if there might be any glaring omissions. Here's what I've come up with (not really in any particular order):

1) Puerto Rico
2) Le Havre
3) Agricola
4) Twilight Struggle
5) El Grande
6) Ora et Labora
7) Tigris & Euphrates
8) Goa
9) Caylus
10) Troyes

So how's the list? Thanks for help with this.
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Ernest S
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That seems like a pretty good list according to the criteria you wrote:
- "next step"
- "strategy"
- "a little longer"
- "less random"

Sure, there are a ton more great games you could add to this list (and people will). I particularly like Tigris & Euphrates.


I will add, that if you are looking only for "euro" strategy games, this list is just fine. However, I don't see a "good variety" in this list as it lacks ameritrash (thematic) games, party games & war games. My particular bent is toward thematic games so I would recomend games like RoboRally, Runewars, Gears of War: The Board Game, Defenders of the Realm, etc. Some of these are also co-op, which also seems to be missing from your list. These are games that tickle my fancy... and they would add variety to your list. But, they may not be games that interest you in any way. Check them out here on the geek.

Oh! and welcome to the hobby... and enjoy your trip down the rabbit hole.
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Jeff
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You bring up a valid point bigeeh. I guess I was going more for the "euro" type games in this list. I probably will try and develop separate lists for the thematic type games and war games. Then when I'm ready to add my next "euro" strategy game I'll look over that list, and when I'm ready to add a war game, then I'll look over that list.

Mainly I just enjoy reading people's opinions on games they like, so it makes preparing lists like these fun for me.

I think my wife thinks I've lost my mind but she's enjoyed the games I've gotten so far.

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Blorb Plorbst
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There's a lot of worker placement on that list.

Consider adding Power Grid to the list.

Ra and/or Modern Art would add some good Auction mechanic to the list too.

And both are classics.
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Tim Koppang
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CrankyPants wrote:
There's a lot of worker placement on that list.

Agree. Ease up on some of the worker-placement and take a look at some of the economic games out there. Power Grid is a great place to start, and actually works really well with a crowd that aren't "boardgamers." Worker placement has been *very* popular in the last five years or so, but it wasn't always that way. There are plenty of games out there that meet your criteria.

From your list, I'd personally choose Tigris & Euphrates and Caylus. Then I'd choose Twilight Struggle.
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Philip Clayberg
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(not sure if these count as strategy, but well worth playing with 2 or more players)

TransAmerica
Ticket to Ride
Railroad Tycoon
Atlantis
Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Maori
Munchkin (needs 3 or more players)
Ninja Burger (ditto)
Canyon (ditto)
Stationmaster (or Station Master) (ditto)
Turn the Tide (3 to 5 players)
Star Traders
6 Nimmt (aka Category 5 and Slide 5)
11 Nimmt
Shoot the Moon
Formula De/Formula De Mini/Formula D

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Jeff
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Thanks for the feedback so far. Those are good points about too much worker placement. Maybe modifying the list to not be so heavy "euro" strategy is a good idea and including a broader array of strategy games that still don't rely so much on luck.

Adding Power Grid to the list is a good idea I think. I also like the idea of adding an auction mechanic like Ra or Modern Art.

Would adding games like A Game of Thrones (first edition) or maybe Mage Knight Board Game be a good idea or would they fall more in the thematic category? I've read good things about both.

Maybe I should start listening to the Ludology podcast to get a better understanding of board game theory.
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Tim Koppang
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Here's a question: what are the gateway games you mentioned in your original post, which ones are your favorites, and why? From there, I can give better recommendations.
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Jeff Forbes

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autiger90 wrote:
So I'm fairly new to board gaming and I like making lists. I've gotten my list of the 10 or so Gateway games I want to add to my collection that gives me a good variety of accessible games to play with friends and family.

Now I'm wanting to figure out a list of the 'next step' strategy games if you will. These would be strategy games that might take a little longer to play and would involve less randomness. I've come up with a list but would be interested in feedback if I've gotten any of them wrong or if there might be any glaring omissions. Here's what I've come up with (not really in any particular order):

1) Puerto Rico
2) Le Havre
3) Agricola
4) Twilight Struggle
5) El Grande
6) Ora et Labora
7) Tigris & Euphrates
8) Goa
9) Caylus
10) Troyes

So how's the list? Thanks for help with this.



Too samey. You have 3 of Uwe's 4 farming games. Remove two of them. Your choice. Ora et Labora is the longest and heaviest, Agricola is the most thematic, lightest, and most tense, and Le Havre is in between, but much closer to Ora et Labora. If you remove Agricola, keep Caylus. If you keep Agricola, remove Caylus.

No train game? Come on. Add Steam or Age of Steam.

No civilization game? Add Through the Ages.

El Grande isn't bad, but it's much shorter and lighter than its reputation seems to be. Dominant Species instead.

Consider looking in to:

Brass - Heavier development and networking game with economic aspects. Very interactive.

Hansa Teutonica - Network development. Fits the same mold as El Grande in that it's simple.

Tigris and Euphrates - Hard to describe, but a lot of people like it.

Die Macher - German political election. Long and more random than average, but it's a once a year sort of game that is awesome once a year.

Container - Economic market game with no game system that forces anyone's hand to do anything intelligent. Very simple rules, and very open for players to do what they want.

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Jeff
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Gateway games (on my list at least) are Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Dominion, Flash Point: Fire Rescue (picked it as my co-op game), Small World, Settlers of Catan and Memoir '44.

So far, I've gotten Dominion, Carcassonne and Flash Point and like them all a lot. I plan on getting the others over the next 3-4 months.

This strategy list is mainly a point of discussion at this point as I probably won't delve into it until a few months down the road, but I enjoy reading the discussion around these types of lists.
 
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Jeff
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jforbes wrote:
autiger90 wrote:
So I'm fairly new to board gaming and I like making lists. I've gotten my list of the 10 or so Gateway games I want to add to my collection that gives me a good variety of accessible games to play with friends and family.

Now I'm wanting to figure out a list of the 'next step' strategy games if you will. These would be strategy games that might take a little longer to play and would involve less randomness. I've come up with a list but would be interested in feedback if I've gotten any of them wrong or if there might be any glaring omissions. Here's what I've come up with (not really in any particular order):

1) Puerto Rico
2) Le Havre
3) Agricola
4) Twilight Struggle
5) El Grande
6) Ora et Labora
7) Tigris & Euphrates
8) Goa
9) Caylus
10) Troyes

So how's the list? Thanks for help with this.



Too samey. You have 3 of Uwe's 4 farming games. Remove two of them. Your choice. Ora et Labora is the longest and heaviest, Agricola is the most thematic, lightest, and most tense, and Le Havre is in between, but much closer to Ora et Labora. If you remove Agricola, keep Caylus. If you keep Agricola, remove Caylus.

No train game? Come on. Add Steam or Age of Steam.

No civilization game? Add Through the Ages.

El Grande isn't bad, but it's much shorter and lighter than its reputation seems to be. Dominant Species instead.

Consider looking in to:

Brass - Heavier development and networking game with economic aspects. Very interactive.

Hansa Teutonica - Network development. Fits the same mold as El Grande in that it's simple.

Tigris and Euphrates - Hard to describe, but a lot of people like it.

Die Macher - German political election. Long and more random than average, but it's a once a year sort of game that is awesome once a year.

Container - Economic market game with no game system that forces anyone's hand to do anything intelligent. Very simple rules, and very open for players to do what they want.



Great feedback - thanks. You make some great points.

Brass, Steam (or Age of Steam) and Dominant Species were all games I considered putting on the list. Through the Ages is also a good suggestion.

Are Agricola and Caylus that similar? Caylus was one of the games I was initially uncertain as to whether or not to include.

Hansa Teutonica and Container are games I haven't read anything about up to this point. I'll have to take a look at them.
 
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Chris B
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That's a really solid list, you IMHO, can't go wrong with it, but if you wanted a broader cross section there is lots of worker placement there. If it was me I'd drop Le Havre & Agricola and add Steam, Power Grid and Dominant Species and make it a Top 11 list!
 
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Jeff Forbes

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Agricola and Caylus are somewhat different. IMO, in the context of a selection of 10 games, they are very similar. They are both resource collection games featuring worker placement. Agricola has more development and tighter resources, and Caylus has more direct interaction via the provost, giving people points and goods for using their buildings. Agricola is more thematic.

But they're both resource collection worker placement games. Which many of the games on your list are.

I prefer Caylus to Agricola, personally (though I like both).

Container is one of my favorite games. If it looks interesting to you, just remember that it is essentially a very simple simulation. It has no gamey features like the market in power grid that automatically replenishes. Everything is up to the players. Read some session reports on the game to see if it makes sense for you.

One more recommendation: Planet Steam. That has economic development, auctioning, and a very strong market element too.
 
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bigeeh wrote:
My particular bent is toward thematic games so I would recommend games like RoboRally, Runewars, Gears of War: The Board Game, Defenders of the Realm


I'd also like to add Cyclades which has fantastic components and art, coupled with a very good auction-for-your-action system. (It may look like a light wargame from pictures - this is very far from the truth.)
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Tim Koppang
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autiger90 wrote:
Gateway games (on my list at least) are Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Dominion, Flash Point: Fire Rescue (picked it as my co-op game), Small World, Settlers of Catan and Memoir '44.

So far, I've gotten Dominion, Carcassonne and Flash Point and like them all a lot. I plan on getting the others over the next 3-4 months.

This strategy list is mainly a point of discussion at this point as I probably won't delve into it until a few months down the road, but I enjoy reading the discussion around these types of lists.

That's a pretty good list of gateway games!

The most important thing is to find games that you yourself are interested in learning and playing. Many games are popular, but not all of them are going to match your tastes. For example, work placement games are very popular, but there are only a handful that I myself enjoy. A lot is going to depend on what you enjoy about games.

I noticed that you don't have a worker placement game on your current list. In that case, you might want to look at Stone Age. It's a good game, and has more depth than you may realize. Another suggestion would be Egizia. If you really want to jump into a heavier worker-placement, I think Caylus (my favorite, more player interaction, a bit dry) or Agricola (more thematic, less player interaction) are excellent games to start with.

You really should play Settlers. It's an excellent game that combines resource management with negotiation. There are few games quite like it in the contemporary canon.

Puerto Rico is worth a play. It's not my favorite style of game, but if you like a lot of the heavier worker placement mechanics, I think you'll feel right at home with the the role selection mechanic and varied abilities of the building tiles.

Otherwise, I stand by my previous recommendations. Tigris & Euphrates is superb. Adding an economic game is a good idea. Power Grid is an excellent choice that is approachable yet relatively deep. Acquire is a classic, and one of my favorites (but dry to some people). An auction game is also a good idea. You have Goa on your list. You might also look at Ra, Medici, or maybe Chicago Express. I'd hesitate to jump right into some of the really heavy games suggested by others, such as Through the Ages, unless they really pique your interest.
 
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Daniel Son
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I love Uwe and his games. Agricola, Le Havre, Ora et Labora, Gates of Loyang. Have 'em all. Love playing all of them.
That said, in terms of getting people to sit and play,
Agricola usually wins out.
My fav == Le Havre. But I feel it's the hardest to 'get' out of the 4.
Ora et Labota seems to be a refinement on Le Havre + Agricola.
Gates of Loyang works really well for 2 or 4 people. (Great couples game)

To echo some of the other comments, the list has a certain 'sameness' to it. My gaming group owns 7 of the 10. Only 3 gets 'serious' regular play. The 3 we don't have/do are T&E, Goa, Troyes. Though, I think my group would adore Troyes.

Rough numbers of play in my group:
Puerto Rico had 8+ plays last 1 month. Probably 2-3 dozen last 12 months. Anniversary addition got some heavy play. :-D
Le Havre 2 plays last 12 months
Agricola 5 plays last 2 months. (Only obtained 2 months ago)
Twilight has not hit table.
El Grande 5 plays last 6 months.
Ora et Labora 1 play last 1 month. (Only obtained 1 month ago)
Caylus 2 plays last 6 months.

Games not on your list: (Just listing the eurogames we played recently)
Power Grid8 plays last 2 months. Probably 2-3 dozen last 12 months.
Princes of Florence ~10 plays last 6 months. 2 plays last 1 month.
Brass5 plays last 6 months. 0 plays last 2 months.
Hansa Teutonica 6 times last 2 months.
Steam 6-8 times last 8 months. 0 plays last 3 months.
Hrmm.... these things run in streaks.....

Looking over my collection. I think the 10 I'd do first in order:
1) Puerto Rico Anniversary
2) Power Grid
3) Agricola
4) Hansa Teutonica
5) Princes of Florence
6) El Grande
7) Brass
8) Through The Ages (or the new civ. I think I prefer TTA though)
9) Steam
10) Ora et Labora (If they really like this Le Havre.)

Bonus: Magnum Sal or Caylus. They're kinda similar. Sorta... You got this king, who's orders you need to fulfill.....
 
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Rob Steward
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I'd say to pick either Ora et Labora or Le Havre. They're pretty similar.

As a replacement, Brass or Through the Ages. (Runner up... Dominant Species.)
 
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David van Damme
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I'm not commenting on your list, which looks great. But why not find a gaming group in your area and play lots of games. That way you can find out what works for you and what doesn't.
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Chris Flood
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Since you're into these lists and in no hurry, you might want to check out this GeekList, which tries to focus a collection on 30 games, each representing a popular mechanic, broader genre or style of play. It's mostly Euro strategy games, but within that context it's got a lot of diversity. Using it might help your selections become less "samey."
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Obviously, if you really like worker placement like games, then buying 10 different worker placements is perfectly fine. If you are new to gaming, then you'll probably want to try some variety first. I also don't recommend buying 10 games at once. You'd probably be best off buying 3-4 at a time (to get free shipping) and then re-evaluating if you want the other games in your list or if you'd like more variety. Also none of the games you listed support 6 players. For me personally this is always a consideration since I typically play with my parents and my brother and his wife.

Here is my list of some more "advanced" games, but I tend to lean toward games that can still pull in non-gamers. I'd consider some of these if you remove some from your list. . In no particular order...

Power Grid - 6p - auction/network building
Carson City - 5p - combative worker placement
Railways of the World - 6p - train game that is lighter version of Steam, which is a lighter version of Age of Steam
Lords of Vegas - 4p - trading, gambling, but you always know the odds and must manage them
RoboRally - 8p - race, a little random with card draws, but easily managed unless you are really damaged
Race for the Galaxy - 4p - hand management and simultaneous action selection
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Jason Carlough
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You definitely need to add Age of Steam/Steam no question about it.
You also might consider Outpost if you want a good engine building/auction game. This might share a spot on the list with Power Grid, these games are not the same but the scratch the same itch. I would pick up at least one of them without a doubt.
Finally, Caylus is a more interesting game than Agricola I highly recommend it unless you hate player interaction. Dont get me wrong Agricola is an interesting game that you should try at some point but in a choice between the two Caylus wins. Plus you don't need both Agricola and Le Havre on such a short list.
You also definitely don't need Le Havre and Ora Et Labora, Uwe Rosenberg makes some interesting games but you need some variety.
 
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Henry Allen
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I'll echo the previous comments that you may want more variety in terms of mechanics.

I'll also add that many of those games are a BIG jump in terms of weight from your gateway games list. You might want a tweener list .

Lastly, it looks like you are covering player counts of 2-5.

Power Grid, Railways of the World, and Acquire are excellent next-step games that support up to 6 players and break away from the mechanics of your initial list.

 
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Nicolas Boulo
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I would add to your list to consider:

Indonesia
Dominant Species
Automobile
Hansa Teutonica
Navegador
Steam
Lancaster
Trajan
Egizia
Endeavor
Vasco da Gama
Power Grid
Imperial 2030
Homesteaders

Nick 'The Prophet'
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Adam Skinner
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Now, everybody's different. It's in your best interest to explore different mechanics. Take into consideration who you'll be playing with, but don't let it drive you.

Here are some I'd recommend you check out:

Innovation
Navia Dratp
Acquire
Reef Encounter
Power Grid
Nexus Ops (pretty hot now too, I think)
Samurai
Shogun (Wallenstein, the original game, is going to see a reprint soon)
Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
 
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Jeff
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There's been some great feedback here. It's really made me reevaluate how I look at this genre. I think I'm going to modify my list to look more like:

1) Puerto Rico
2) Agricola or Caylus - I can't decide. I always figured Agricola would be on this list but based on some of the feedback here, I might go with Caylus.
3) Twilight Struggle
4) Tigris & Euphrates
5) Power Grid
6) Steam
7) Dominant Species
8) Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
9) Brass: Lancashire
10) Hansa Teutonica
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