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Subject: Immersive card games? rss

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Mauricio Vives
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Smyrna
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Can you recommend a relatively immersive card game? By this I mean one that does a good job of hiding the math and mechanics, so you spend less time optimizing and more time enjoying the game world.

For example, I think Dominion doesn't do a very good job of this: the theme is fairly light, and the card effects are not very intuitive. On the other hand, in Rune Age the card effects seem to make more sense, and the theme is well-presented (I say that from watching videos).

Here is a list of games I have been looking into:

Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game
Core Worlds
Race for the Galaxy
Rune Age
San Juan
Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
Summoner Wars: Master Set
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin

What do you think of these when it comes to immersion? Other ideas? Thanks!
 
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Jacovis
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Race for the Galaxy is the one that immerses me. It takes a couple plays to get used to the icons (they're really not difficult, just do what they say and use the cheat sheet the first couple of games, and then they make complete sense) but after that, RftG always makes me feel like I am working inside of a space opera.

Core worlds does the same, but in an entirely different way. CW also has a much larger table footprint, so that's something to consider.

A 2 player card game that I really enjoy is Roma. It's really quick, and the cards all make sense and the game has surprising depth and fun mixed into it. It's only 2 player, though, so if that's a problem it won't help.

7 Wonders is another one where I can actually picture myself building up my city as I play, and I get absorbed in the game. The benefit of this game is it scales up to 7, and with the Leaders expansion is even better.

BattleCON: War of Indines is another one. It's quick, fun, and really feels like you're playing a fighting game. I haven't tried this one with 4 players, but it will work with up to four, and the 2 player was great fun.

Scavengers is a sleeper hit as well for me. I won the game in the BGG contest or I would have never given it a second glance. It's awesome. The animals are all different and unique, and the player interaction is very fun, and the tension of the card mechanics is some of the best in a card game imho. Very much recommended, and works with up to four players.

And finally, Tooth & Nail: Factions is about to be released by Smallbox Games, and after playing the Print n Play version while I wait for my Kickstarter to arrive, I have to say the game is really a ton of fun. Each of the animal factions has different techniques, and the cards' abilities make for a lot of fun. It also contains several different variants you can play with just the cards in the box, so that's fun as well.

I hope these help, and good luck!

Cheers!

Jacovis
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Bartow Riggs
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+1 for ROMA and ARENA
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Geert Vinaskov
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I think immersion is harder with card games because of the limited components.

That being said, for me games like this give me a feeling of immersion:


The Resistance
Werewolf
Saboteur 2 (expansion-only editions)
Bohnanza

Because of the social aspect. You're socializing/scheming/yelling during downtime.


7 Wonders
Race for the Galaxy

Because of the limited downtime. Everyone is taking his turn at the same time.
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Mike Watne
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+1 for Tooth & Nail: Factions, and pretty much anything else by Small Box Games (Omen: A Reign of War and Hemloch ranking chief among them).

I'm a huge fan of Eminent Domain. While there are those who find its application of theme to be lackluster, the gameplay is deep and engaging. It may lack a bit of the narrative flair of theme-heavy games, but the play does not feel mechanical or mathematical. It is a blast!

[Edit: Typo]
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Nick M
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A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
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Brian White
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I'm going to make a possible faux pas by recommending a game I've only played twice, but I found Onirim to be very engrossing with its very thematic art. The mechanics are fairly simple, as well, so you don't need to spend a lot of time burning your brain, and you can just enjoy the sublime atmosphere of the game. That being said, I've read that its art is somewhat divisive, so maybe read a few reviews first. Still, I personally loved it, and am on the lookout for a copy to buy for myself.
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Moe45673
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I find Rivals for Catan to be quite immersive and a great game.

I also like Traders of Osaka, it gives me that Middle Eastern marketplace vibe, which is peaceful.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Innovation (civilization-building through the ages)

Nature of the Beast: Farm vs. Forest (animal armies fighting a secret war under our noses)

Sentinels of the Multiverse (finally a fine superhero game)

+1 for BattleCON: War of Indines (dueling martial artists with special powers)

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Kevin Shillinglaw
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I think one of the most immersive card games I've ever played is The Red Dragon Inn and it's expansions/stand alone games. It's all about fantasy adventurers who, after a hard day in the dungeon, relax at the local Inn, drinking and gambling their hard-earned gold away. I always get a bit of role-playing in as well (talking like the character I'm playing) and nothing is more satisfying than winning that hand of gambling or making someone drink themselves into unconsciousness.

While not as immersive, I've found that Uruk: Wiege der Zivilisation works for me as well. A civ-building game where the cards are inventions that you use to get/convert resources so you can build villages and cities. This has a bit of a learning curve as the instructions are in German, but translations are found here on BGG. The cards are pretty much language independent, so that helps.

Another one I just recently played is Before the Wind. There is some math, but not very much. It's all about making the hard choices and giving your opponents hard choices. A truly great game that needs more recognition.
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Mauricio Vives
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Smyrna
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Wow... I was hoping to end up with a smaller list than I started with. I have a lot to follow up on here. Thanks a lot (thumbs all around), and keep them coming.
 
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Andrew H
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I find a solo game of Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game to be quite immersive in some ways. Most significantly in creating tension and in careful consideration of your actions. Each action and dice roll can be a nail bitter, and there is a good chance some or all of your team will die. I think these fit the world well.

I've heard that when playing with more then one player the game loses some of this. The problem seems to be that one player can get bossy, which would also probably be thematic, but isn't as much fun.
 
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K
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haven't played most of the games on your initial list but I'd say Summoner Wars is a good choice for what you're looking for. Simple rules that are easy to internalize and then get out of the way so you can focus on summoning an army and destroying theirs
 
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Ryan S
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What!? I finally get my very own video game, but it's a mobile game?!
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Thunderstone, as you mentioned is pretty good for this. It has simple mechanics and a good theme (at least to me).

Resident Evil Deck Building Game is another good deck building game with a good theme (well I am a Resident Evil nut) and some interesting mechanics to help with immersion. The cards that give you bonus things like +2 actions, +1 buy, etc have some merit to them based on the Resident Evil world, and the enemies add a lot of tension/suspense.

The REDBG has a lot of similarities to Dominion, so if you liked the game but not the light theme, RE might be for you.

I haven't played it, but I hear the Star Trek Deck Building Game: The Next Generation is quite good as well. If you like Star Trek and a space theme, it could be the game for you.
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