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Subject: What is a great/deep Euro that scales well? rss

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Moe45673
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Here's the euro to end all euros, imo: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization

Here's the biggest problem with it: I own Mage Knight and I can't bring myself to play it as often as I should. It's too damned fiddly to learn. Setup alone takes a while and my time isn't as open as it used to be. I'm not going to sell it because I know there's a great game in there.

TtA I played once (not a full game) and I saw greatness in it. But I played it with someone else (thanks, dcorban!) and he was the "dungeonmaster". I usually am that in my groups and I can't think that doing that for a game as fiddly with so many components as TtA, it's worth getting. It's also a long game and wouldn't see much table time.

Rather, I'd like a game incredibly deep. The only euro I own and love right now is The Manhattan Project, which is fantastic. It's balanced, open, and streamlined. It doesn't have an unthematic mechanic anywhere in the game. It doesn't have an arbitrary amount of rounds until the game ends.

Re: arbitrary amount of rounds until it ends - the only way I could think this was acceptable would be where it tied in with the theme, like the volcano spewing all over Pompeii ending the game or you're fighting for popularity in a city before an election in 6 months or the king wants a new rug supplier and you have 6 months to prove your worth. SOMETHING that the designer took pains to have fit with the theme and isn't half-assed "pasted on".

Player interaction is good. Not just auctions or worker placement but, like in Goa, where when you auction you pay the other player. This drastically affects the game much higher than in a game like Power Grid where you always pay the bank. However, needing to build up a defense a la Cyclades is not what I'm looking for, but I want something a little more interactive than your typical Euro.

Wealth of Nations right now is the best interactive game I've ever played. I love the way you try to get a monopoly and drive up the price of goods, so you can sell the ones you produce for $$$. Talk about a perfect economic game. Militarily demolishing your opponents scratches a different itch, and I'm not looking for it, not in a civ game, not a wargame (1812, which I own, is actually an area control game where no side is ever truly decimated and is rarely overrun in an evenly matched game), not in a Euro.

Should also scale well, especially with 2 so I can finally pull out something not a card/tile game with the wife. Multiple paths to victory is a plus.

Otherwise, I am looking for the "gateway" euro into medieval trading with constipated noble looking at you from the box. By gateway, I don't mean simple. I mean for a guy with my tastes who is usually turned off by many euro qualities (basically, they go out of their way to keep the game short and no player elimination, which in some games can feel unnatural and forced. Then again, when it's done right [like what The Resistance is to Werewolf], it's brilliant).

Games that have caught my eye: Endeavor, Navegador, Vinhos, Homesteaders, Le Havre (maybe), Goa, Troyes (maybe), A Feld game (Castles of Burgundy? Speicherstadt? Trajan?), London (actually, I'll probably buy this anyhow, it's a Euro but not your more stereotypical one), Village (though I'd rather stay away from worker placement, already being happy with TMP), Genoa, Cuba (with expansion).... and that's it from the top 300 in this category. I want a game that I'll walk away from going "Now THAT was satisfying".

Please don't recommend Stone Age. I really did not like that game.
 
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Derry Salewski
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Dominant Species. Age of Empires for a little bit less slaying of your oponents and a little bit more scaling to two without modifying anything.
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Chris in Kansai
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How about a Splotter Spellen game - Indonesia or Antiquity?

thumbsup for Dominant Species, and for a Feld game In the Year of the Dragon is worth a look.

And of course Puerto Rico has some depth to it and scales well whistle.
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I'd have said Brass: Lancashire works 2-4 (good fan variant for 2), has a fixed number of rounds and sort of multiple paths to victory, but I noticed you have Age of Industry. Have you looked at the Great Lakes 2-player map for AoI?
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Sounds to me like you want Caylus.
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Mitch Willis
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Endeavor - base game scales well from 3 to 5; there are also a couple of 2-player variants (1 official one by the designers, 1 unofficial one by a fan) posted here on BGG, both of which play very well...

+1 Age of Empires III
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Hansa Teutonica, 3-5
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Chrysm wrote:
How about a Splotter Spellen game - Indonesia or Antiquity?


Indonesia should definitely be on the list to try.

I personally love Navegador, but the interaction may be less than what you want.

However, Genoa should be exactly what you are looking for.
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Fernando Berdichevsky
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I don't ignore you saying you don't want any
More worker placement but, given what you are looking for ...

I'd go for Caylus if I were you. Very deep. Multiple paths to victory. Scales great (many people play just 2players) etc.

You might also wanna look Lords of Waterdeep Great gateway, thematic, medieval, and FUN.
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Joel Eddy
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Trajan
Vinhos

Not a lot of interaction in those, but they are great.

Dominant Species... lots of interaction.

Village... It's not Worker Placement. It just seems like it. There can be interaction in this, but not a ton. Give this one a shake or two.
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Shane Larsen
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First off, if you ever want to play a game of TtA with me online, I'd be happy to play at boardgaming-online.com. They're having server problems right now at this URL, so if you go to this URL, http://84.200.224.32/, you can play. My user name is Shane Larsen. Now, back to business.

You've come up with a good preliminary list of Euros to consider, so I'll just talk about the ones of those I've played, which are the following:

Navegador, Goa, Troyes, The Speicherstadt, and Trajan

I'm also going to add two more that I think you should consider:

Agricola and Hansa Teutonica

Now I will compare them in each of the important criterion you mentioned above:

1. Fiddliness - Here they are in order of least fiddly to most fiddly, IMO:

Speich, Troyes, Nav, Goa, Hansa T, Trajan, Gric

2. Depth - Here they are in order of deepest to shallowest, IMO:

Trajan, Gric, Troyes, Goa, Hansa T, Nav, Speich

3. Arbitrary Number of Rounds - The only ones that have it are Navegador (and it's fitting to the them), Trajan (and the game timer is in everyone's face the whole game, it adds great tension throughout the game), and Hansa T (it has different game-ending conditions based on VPs or filled cities, I think it adds a lot to the game and makes all players consider timing with their strategies)

4. Player Interaction - Keep in mind that these games are all deep enough (barring Speich) that the first few times you play them, you won't feel much interaction as you'll be learning how they work. With that said, I'll order them from the ones with most player interaction to least player interaction (considering all players know the game well), IMO:

Speich, Troyes, Hansa T, Goa, Gric, Trajan, Nav
(That was tough. Navegador has a race element for new colonies, and an economic system that [sort of] ties all players' money together. But it just doesn't feel interactive at all. Also, Agricola can be much more interactive--beyond WP-blocking--when you use some of the more advanced decks.)

5. Scalability - This is why Agricola made my list of games you should consider. Here's how each of them scale:

Agricola - excellent; 2-5
Trajan - excellent; 2-4
The Speicherstadt - great; 2-5
Troyes - great; 2-4 (there's debate on this, but I think it plays incredibly well at all play counts, albeit different)
Navegador - good; 2-5 (the board gets a little too tight with 5)
Goa - good; 2-4 (it loses a little with two, IMO)
Hansa Teutonica - fair; it's great 3-5, but the variant used for two players is widely frowned upon

6. Constipated Noble on the Front of the Box - The clear winner here is Hansa T:

1. Hansa T - The most notorious constipated noble of them all!
2. Goa
3. Navegador
4. Troyes
5. Agricola - Does a constipated sheep count?
6. Trajan - Constipated statue?
7. The Speicherstadt - His pose would suggest so if he wasn't hoisting that shipment of spices.

7. Satisfaction Aspect - I love the feeling of satisfaction too. That's why TtA is my favorite game of all time. It is THE most satisfying experience I've found in gaming. Here they are in order of the satisfaction aspect:

Agricola, Hansa T, Goa, Troyes, Trajan, Nav, and The Speich


FWIW, I love all these games. But I think you should eliminate The Speicherstadt since you want something deep. My favorites are Troyes and Trajan.

I hope this helps, good luck and have fun!

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Geoff Burkman
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My recommendations, in no particular order, would be:

Dominant Species
Automobile
Agricola (w/ Farmers of the Moor expansion)
Prêt-à-Porter
Age of Empires III
Antiquity
Caylus
Puerto Rico
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HenningK
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+1 for Caylus. My favourite deep Euro by far.
 
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Moe45673
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Great responses. Based off these, I'm considering 3

Caylus - I've seen people compare Manhattan Project to it. Caylus may be the better game or they may be nothing alike, but I want something different. Still, many do say this is the beginning and end of worker placement

Age of Empires III - I like the exploration theme and this game did have my attention a while ago, but I was swayed to Navegador and its market. But now I've got my market itch fairly well scratched, maybe I should revisit this game

Agricola - I've heard this is multiplayer solitaire but... I should probably play it as it is one of the fabled best games of all time. Regarding this game, what's the deal with it, Farmers of the Moor, the new 2 player version, etc? Also, it's apparently wife friendly, so that's a bonus. I could probably introduce it as non pixel-based farmville or something

TheDacker, great response!

All economic games, including Brass, Automobile, Indonesia, those are not what I'm searching for. Believe me, I want to play all of them (especially Indonesia) but I'm really asking for a medieval trading game, or a game like it. I wasn't kidding about the constipated noble, I want to see what I'm missing, although the game does have to fall within certain standards.

*edit* Btw, when I say economic, I mean ECONOMIC. Supply/demand, variable market prices, etc. Indonesia is economic. Automobile is economic. Brass is debatable. Navegador is not, though it has an economic component in manipulating the market. Traders of Carthage is absolutely not. Puerto Rico is not. Etc etc
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Shane Larsen
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Moe45673 wrote:
Agricola - I've heard this is multiplayer solitaire but... I should probably play it as it is one of the fabled best games of all time. Regarding this game, what's the deal with it, Farmers of the Moor, the new 2 player version, etc? Also, it's apparently wife friendly, so that's a bonus. I could probably introduce it as non pixel-based farmville or something.


One more thing that should be noted about Agricola is how well the rules are integrated with the theme. The game can seem intimidating to new players at first, but the rules stick because they all make thematic sense. Want animals? Need fences. Need fences? Get wood. Have to feed? Generate food. Etc.

Good luck and let us know which one you pick. I always like seeing the results of these threads.
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Andrew Foerster
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Hey buddy, give Stone Age a look!
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Andrew Foerster
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Seriously, lots of Feld games fit the bill. Notre Dame, In the Year of the Dragon, and his newer games (Trajan and Die Burgen von Burgund).

Reef Encounter is fabulous with any player count.

But I'll echo others here in saying that it seems like you're looking for an excuse to buy Caylus.
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Moe45673
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I watched Ryan Metzler's review of Caylus and I'm not fully sold on it. Looking at it reminds me a little bit of Brass, believe it or not, so it does look awesome. Still, I doubt I could get the wife to play it.

However, Agricola looks wildly different than anything else I own or have played (except one 2p game of At the Gates of Loyang, which I found to be not great). I also like the farming theme (again wildly different). Unfortunately I would need to buy the Mayday Premium meeple set, of course, so it would get pricy. But I'm about to have a 300 dollar loan repaid, so I can spend it on those (and buy other games). The wife loves Carcassonne and I tolerate it. I'm hoping this can be the Carc-killer I need. Is this game peaceful, being about farming with green boards and such? Not in the gameplay, but when you're immersed in it, do you feel like a farmer and somewhat at peace, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, if you know what I mean?

A secondary game i may get is Troyes. Scales well, not fiddly, and lots of depth. Or Trajan. I have a feeling I won't like it but I can't call myself a true gamer until I play a real Feld game, aside from Roma/Arena (which are pretty good though they don't scratch any particular itches I may have).

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Moe45673 wrote:
Agricola ... Is this game peaceful, being about farming with green boards and such? Not in the gameplay, but when you're immersed in it, do you feel like a farmer and somewhat at peace, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, if you know what I mean?


The theme is peaceful, yes. But I wouldn't necessarily say it feels peaceful on account of the stress it can create. Perhaps the most talked-about feature of the game is how you have to feed you family. It's hard. And the consequence for not feeding them well is heavy. I've played with first-time players show have said, "When do I get to build my farm?! I feel like all I'm doing is feeding!" So there's that. So while you may be away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you definitely feel the farmer's stress of not only building up the farm for future success, but that you have a growing family with mouths to feed. As with all businesses, it's really hard at first, but with sweaty brows and careful planning, you'll eventually see that farm grow up and just when you start to feel like there's light at the end of the tunnel--the game ends and you score your farm.

That's the best I can describe the immersion of Agricola.

Moe45673 wrote:
A secondary game i may get is Troyes. Scales well, not fiddly, and lots of depth. Or Trajan. I have a feeling I won't like it but I can't call myself a true gamer until I play a real Feld game, aside from Roma/Arena (which are pretty good though they don't scratch any particular itches I may have).


These games are both top of my hotness right now:

Troyes - It's unique and I don't think there is another game that uses dice in a more interesting way. Bad rolls are almost non-existent with good play. It's an incredibly smart design. I think this is a must-own for any true Euro gamer as it fills the niche for best use of dice in a Euro game.

Trajan - The innovation found in Troyes' use of dice is equally impressive to the innovation found in Trajan's use of the mancala. Action selection has never been more interesting. The closer you get to mastering the mancala, the better player you are, and mastering it is a marvelous puzzle. Not to mention the way it ties into the game timer and balancing each players' action selection over the course of the game.

[side note]

I didn't particularly love Arena: Roma II. I feel like it's popularity has increased a lot since it became OOP. There are better short 2p games out there, IMO.
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thedacker wrote:
I didn't particularly love Arena: Roma II. I feel like it's popularity has increased a lot since it became OOP. There are better short 2p games out there, IMO.


I'm with you. I fell for the hype and bought it when Queen republished it (and Roma 1). I'd actually rather play Battle Line, which is only cosmetically similar and it's theme is even more pasted on. Color me shocked.

Interesting what you say about Troyes. I'm on the fence about it, also because I see a lot of people state that they loved Troyes but Castles of Burgundy was their Troyes-killer. Yet even despite this, I want to play a dice free Euro. Something like Hansa T would be good but it doesn't play well with 2. I was really hoping people would mention Goa but I think a lot of people focused on the interaction part.... I think I should have clarified that good interaction is a bonus but if a game doesn't have too much yet still doesn't feel like multiplayer solitaire (Stone Age, while I didn't like it, is a good example of this), I'd still prefer it over the best Euro with interaction.

What you say about Agricola is what annoys me about Euros. It's like I said, a lot of them feel like they end too early. Sure, having your engine finally pay off and then keep playing is one of the huge flaws with Monopoly/Risk, but working hard and getting no reward other than VPs annoys me.

Oh, if I can add one more important criteria: I don't like games where there's a significant choice at times between making your engine stronger OR buying VPs. I really dislike this. When I acquire something I can spend, I want to spend it on something that will make me stronger. It's what turned me off of Stone Age, which was spend resources to buy points. It's also what made me decide to pass on Furstenfeld, and similar. I like VPs but only when they're tallied at the end (a la Age of Industry) or their acquisition is a byproduct of building your engine (a la Lords of Vegas), not as an active choice. Manhattan Project is an exception, as people usually have 0 points until the very end when they ramp up quickly, and most of the game you focus on the balance of acquiring resources which you spend on actions and/or acquiring other resources with them.

When I saw that you get VPs by building buildings in Caylus, I liked that. When I saw there's a favor track and one of the things you can ask for are VPs... that turned me off. That's unthematic to me, I don't like it. Maybe I'm throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but I'm sure there are still games out there that don't do this that I would enjoy.

So with that in mind whistle
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Shane Larsen
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Moe45673 wrote:
thedacker wrote:
I didn't particularly love Arena: Roma II. I feel like it's popularity has increased a lot since it became OOP. There are better short 2p games out there, IMO.


I'm with you. I fell for the hype and bought it when Queen republished it (and Roma 1). I'd actually rather play Battle Line, which is only cosmetically similar and it's theme is even more pasted on. Color me shocked.


Ha! Battle Line is my favorite quick 2p card game. I find it hard to justify any other small 2p card games when Battle Line is in my collection. It's brilliant.

Moe45673 wrote:
Interesting what you say about Troyes. I'm on the fence about it, also because I see a lot of people state that they loved Troyes but Castles of Burgundy was their Troyes-killer. Yet even despite this, I want to play a dice free Euro.


I haven't seen anything in my read-throughs and video watching that makes me think it would kill Troyes for me. I love the city-center idea used in Troyes. You own dice, but they can be taken/bought from you, so that stinks...until you see what you can do with the money you just earned for losing your dice. It's really smart. But I'm a fanboy, so take it for what it's worth.

For me, I chose to keep Troyes and get Trajan for my Feld game. I'm very happy with my decision so far. I look forward to playing Castles some day.

Moe45673 wrote:
I was really hoping people would mention Goa but I think a lot of people focused on the interaction part.... I think I should have clarified that good interaction is a bonus but if a game doesn't have too much yet still doesn't feel like multiplayer solitaire (Stone Age, while I didn't like it, is a good example of this), I'd still prefer it over the best Euro with interaction.


Goa starts each round with an auction phase on a central board from which all players are grabbing/bidding for tiles. Some tiles are good, other tiles are really good. So there is a bit of a got-it-first interaction on the central board and during the auctioning rounds.

Moe45673 wrote:
What you say about Agricola is what annoys me about Euros. It's like I said, a lot of them feel like they end too early. Sure, having your engine finally pay off and then keep playing is one of the huge flaws with Monopoly/Risk, but working hard and getting no reward other than VPs annoys me.


Some games I wish we could play one more round. Other games I'm fine with where it ends. I guess it all depends on how well I've planned for the game end. FWIW, the number of rounds is fixed and is the exact same every game.
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+1 Battle Line
+1 Agricola
The big downside with Agricola is how fiddly it is, lots of set up time between rounds.
 
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Already own Battle Line. I'm actually bringing Haggis, which scratches a similar itch, on our honeymoon as it uses less real estate and can play it on the plane.

I'm still considering Homesteaders as a game that casuals can play yet has depth and plays very well with 2. In addition to this, it's quick as hell. My wife is not a serious gamer, I always have to suggest that we should play a game..... Agricola is also an option, but is more expensive, especially since upgraded meeples is an instabuy if and when I get this, whereas Homesteaders comes with great components and is less than 40 bucks. On the one hand, wife's competitive so would enjoy the auction of Homesteaders but on the other hand, she might like building a farm on a player mat vs just building up a homestead on a table.

I've crossed off Caylus for now, and Age of Empires III as opinion is divided on how that plays with 2. Trajan looks good with the mancala bit, but it's more a cerebral exercise than an immersive one, IMO. Also seems to be extremely multiplayer solitaire.

I still want to play Vinhos but am put off by the limited rounds
 
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