Moe45673
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I know I know. Mage Knight. Through the Ages.

Now that that's out of the way (TtA is amazing but much too long, MK is out of print but is on my "buy immediately" list [yes, it's long too but I can play it solo]), I like games where you build yourself up and make yourself more powerful, through sacrifices and smart choices (not grinding).

Examples:

Settlers of Catan Traders and Barbarians scenario. I love the way that you can upgrade your wagon so it moves faster and nets more gold upon delivery. I like that upping your wagon makes you a bigger force to be reckoned with.



In the above pic, you start off at level 1 and if you want to make your wagon better, you need to spend the resources written on the back of the card to unlock. I AM AN ABSOLUTE SUCKER FOR THIS KIND OF MECHANIC.

On a lesser level, I really like how in Monopoly you buy properties and build hotels to become a feared merciless landlord (though Monopoly does plenty of things wrong), so your power affects the gameplay.

I love how in Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game, you set up the locations in a specific order (shuffe the 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s cards separately and choose one of each to reveal in order). Shows a lot of thought went into the design to make it like a story that changes each time. I wish the monsters were a bit more progressive too, as well as unlocking abilities for your marines.

I love how in TtA, you continually get better techs within each age PLUS how it's divided into three ages and when you get to the second age, for example, it's a whole new world of stuff to play with and choose (double whammy right there)

I'm not a fan where getting something gives you more points but only minimally affects your gameplay (eg Thunderstone when you beat a monster). A game like Ticket To Ride is fun and I enjoy it, but simply blocking others with your network isn't what I'm talking about when I speak of power. I speak of discovery. The landscape changes. Your powers change and improve. Time marches on revealing new technologies.

I don't care about a game where I amass hoards of money as an end goal and the winner is someone who has the most money after 9 rounds. I want to amass money so I can hire a computer programmer to design a virus and disable my opponent for 2 turns. Or hire a hitman to take him out. Or buy a new mainframe server that allows me to increase production exponentially, though it costs me a bundle. I want a game where I have abilities and choices by the end that I did not have in the early game and I'd never be able to have in the early game, no matter how random the game's setup and combinations are(again, Through the Ages 1st/2nd/3rd age decks are exactly, but not limited to, what I mean here).

Looking for a game of medium complexity, good theme (and preferably something more real life though any point in history and light fantasy is fine), and 60-120 minutes playtime. I don't need everything I mentioned squeezed into one game, by no means, but any game where you've got new options to explore as the game goes on and it's not because you now have a bigger army than you did at the beginning; it's because your army has tanks now while the others haven't moved on from cavalry.

Anything else clarified, just ask!







 
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Robert Forrest
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Don't know if this exactly what you're after, but how about Innovation?
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Chris Wood
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Moe45673 wrote:

good theme (and preferably something more real life though any point in history and light fantasy is fine) but any game where you've got new options to explore as the game goes on and it's not because you now have a bigger army than you did at the beginning; it's because your army has tanks now while the others haven't moved on from cavalry.



You have just exactly described Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game. I mean, EXACTLY described it. Nearly every damn thing is unlockable or upgradable.

Every stat, from amount of units you can have in one space, to the amount they can move, to what buildings you can build in your city's outskirts, to which technologies you can develop that can upgrade your buildings, your trade, productions, what you can build, is upgradable.

Hell, one of the victory conditions is a tech victory, in which you build a tech pyramid, where higher grade techs can only be built by amassing lower grade techs (which all help upgrade everything else).

Also, wonders, leaders, culture cards (that screw over the other person), map-unlocked villages and huts, governments, all help to enhance the crazy upgradableness that is this game.

All that AND it's not too hard to learn.

AND you actually will have battles won because you literally have tanks while the other player has not moved on from cavalry.
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Sam Binney
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whilst readinh your post i also couldnt stop tjinking 'oh, that's like sid meiers civilization'. the poster above beat me to it but even so a damn good choice!
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Derry Salewski
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Video games . . .
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Paul Bradley
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RPGs ... there's a stack of them and we play on this site as well.
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Nick Fisk
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Stoke on Trent
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Come on you Seagulls! Sami Hyppia's Blue & White army!
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Best game with a "tech tree", but it doesn't fit your time constraints:

Roads & Boats

The geeklist is a bit old, but check here:

Games with Tech Trees




N.
 
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Moe45673
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scifiantihero wrote:
Video games . . .


Ha. I actually come from a videogame background and this is something I love in them (though many games do not have this).

Still, I know there are boardgames out there that do this and do it well. Sid Meier's Civ boardgame may do it and even be more along my preferences than TtA but it's still too long and too fiddly for most of the folks I'd be able to wrangle into a play session!

Like I said, the whole game doesn't have to be about it, but it is a mechanic in games I really appreciate. Think about the role mechanic in some games like Pandemic.... except instead of getting the role in the beginning, you get to build it over the game, or get it in the beginning in a weak state and then upgrade it. The rest of the game is still primarily about eradicating global diseases, but I love unlocking improvements in addition to the main theme. It gives a sense of progression.

I'm sorry I couldn't be clearer, SMC:TB is semantically what I'm talking about but it's not what I want

Moviebuffs, thanks for the list! After a quick glance, I see Saint Petersburg has a fairly high rating and it's playtime is listed as 45 minutes. Sw00t!
 
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Chris Wood
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The other game I thought about besides Sid's Civ, oddly enough, is Power Grid. Bigger and more efficient power plants become available as the game progresses, and you get this snowballing effect; bigger plants means more cities you can power, which make you more money, which gives you the ability to get progressively more efficient plants. You really have to play it to see what I mean. The Monopoly reference you alluded to earlier; this is what I felt when I first played Power Grid: Monopoly how it should have been done.
 
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Charles Phillips
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Perhaps Locke & Key: The Game is what you are after? I've not played it (but want to) but the game description seems to fit your needs.

Note that it doesn't seem to have a "tech tree" but the description indicates that it's all about unlocking abilities and card combos.
 
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jflartner
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Two (pretty much themeless) Euros that have some upgrading are Yspahan and Hansa Teutonica.

In Ascending Empires, the game is pretty much "upgrade or die."
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Chris Pierce
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Moe45673 wrote:

Moviebuffs, thanks for the list! After a quick glance, I see Saint Petersburg has a fairly high rating and it's playtime is listed as 45 minutes. Sw00t!


If you like the idea of Saint Petersburh, you might find this thread from the Saint Petersburg forum helpful.

Other Economic Engine Games
 
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chuck dunn
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My standards chafe at the 120 minute requirement on these requests... the game hasn't even started till the third hour ... where do you have to be that the game needs to end so soon ??.. pent up energy can be spent with a lap or two at the 90 minute mark if the add is acting up too much ..
 
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Moe45673
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Work, family, other errands that need getting done I don't get restless because a game goes on too long if it's fun, I get restless because I know other things need to get done and I've overstepped my alloted gaming time

Quick glance at Locke and Key.... that is indeed what I am talking about. It doesn't have to be specifically a tree, it can be a deckbuilder (like the wonderful Friday). I'll look more into it.

I've been hemming and hawing over Power Grid (not for the reasons of this thread but because it just seems like a good game), but the fact that with the Robot Expansion it plays well with two players is a huge bonus. I'll give it more thoughtful consideration

Thanks all! Keep em coming!



 
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