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Subject: "Puzzle" Euros? rss

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Martin Jonassen
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Hello again. First, I'd like to thank you for the help with my previous request. While I haven't been able to play Chaos in the Old World as much as I would have liked, it's me and one of my friend's favorite game (Barely beats out Dominion just because I can't find anyone that has invested enough time in it, so it's usually one-sided.)

Either way, I was looking at Trajan, and the action selection mechanic in it seems brilliant. However, I feel like the actions themselves could have been streamlined a bit, the game looks a bit bloated. Also, it's fairly expensive, so I'd like to be more educated before choosing a game, and curious if there are any other euro games with minor puzzle elements.

I'm having some trouble defining exactly what I'm looking for, but I think it's some abstract long term interaction between objects other than raw mathematical calculations (Although I'm sure they can be broken into that with some effort, it's just not as apparent.) Stefan Feld has some interesting ones in the aforementioned Trajan and Macao, but outside of that I'm at a bit of a loss. I actually think the resource wheel in Ora et Labora is intriguing, but I'm pretty sure a lot of euros gives incentives to buy less popular resources, it's probably just the physical implementation of it that I like. (I would probably have already gotten OeL if it had some setup randomness, but I don't like the thought of using all the cards every time in a game with no randomness otherwise.)

I feel like I should just get Trajan, but the game is so intimidating.

I'd use some other board game examples to give a ground to stand on, but I don't really know where to go. Some of my favorite computer games are Portal, Braid and RUSH, should it be of any help. It's where my motivation comes from. I don't really like Troyes, but I haven't figured out why, so hard to use that for anything constructive.
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David Debien
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I have taught Trajan to 7 or 8 people now. Only one person was turned off by all the actions and another person mentioned that they didnt seem to fit into a cohesive whole very well, but he still liked the game and was willing to play it again. The other person refuses to play Trajan again. Everyone else has been very impressed with the game and I haven't had anyone have a problem in understanding the game.

Handling the Mancala takes a few games to get used to, but the actions themselves are very straightforward.

Re Trajan's cost: comparing it to Castles of Burgundy, I am happy that they went the extra mile in Trajan's component quality. I would gladly have paid an extra $20 for CoB if it had similar component quality to Trajan.
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Jesse Hickle
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I played Trajan for the first time yesterday, and while there is a ton going on, you don't have every action as an option every time. You can only choose what you can land on by exact count, so it takes some planning ahead, which I enjoyed a lot (I lost, but I was the only one who hadn't played before). I don't think it's that complicated to understand, it just looks intimidating.
 
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Meeple Me
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Based on your thread title I was going to suggest Ubongo.
However, having read your post, I don't think it's what you're after, but it never hurts to mention it.
Tsuro would be another, but like Ubongo, the game is the puzzle without other mechanics built on top of it. Tsuro does have a nice price point though, and plays up to 8 people.
 
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Jim Cote
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Roma has some nice puzzle-like combos. In fact, what turned me on to it was an image asking what you would do to win.
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Carl Garber
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I like these kinds of games as well! Macao is one of my favorite games ever and Trajan is on the way! Also the game Lee referred to, Tzolkin, also reminded me of Macao's windrose but in reverse. Although being that it is a new Essen release it probably won't be all that cheap! You might also want to check out some auction games(like Goa for example) auctions keep you away from obvious math as it is hard to determine te value of the various lots. Also the variable set up and the way the auction is carried out in Goa lends itself to a particular auctions value to shift depending on game state and other tiles up for auction. Aside from the auction aspect there is also the other half of the game of Goa that feels very puzzley to me.

I also just checked your collection and didn't see Macao in there. I
Think that is a bit more streamlined than Trajan as it has two main ways to score points. Also, I am pretty sure you can find it
For alot cheaper.
 
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Michael J
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Mage Knight is one of the more puzzle-like games I've ever played. I'm not counting games like Ubongo or Factory Fun, which are ALL puzzle. But in Mage Knight, every hand is a puzzle to be worked out. I've thoroughly enjoyed it, even solo.
 
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The Other Tom
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Feld is excellent. If Trajan is a bit intimidating take a closer look at Macao. The wind-rose is a really clever mechanic. I seriously don't think you will be disappointed.

Also, take a look at Troyes.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Not sure if co-ops have appeal to you, but Pandemic has very much of a puzzle feel to it.
 
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Martin Jonassen
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casualgod wrote:
I have taught Trajan to 7 or 8 people now. Only one person was turned off by all the actions and another person mentioned that they didnt seem to fit into a cohesive whole very well, but he still liked the game and was willing to play it again. The other person refuses to play Trajan again. Everyone else has been very impressed with the game and I haven't had anyone have a problem in understanding the game.

Handling the Mancala takes a few games to get used to, but the actions themselves are very straightforward.

asutbone wrote:
I played Trajan for the first time yesterday, and while there is a ton going on, you don't have every action as an option every time. You can only choose what you can land on by exact count, so it takes some planning ahead, which I enjoyed a lot (I lost, but I was the only one who hadn't played before). I don't think it's that complicated to understand, it just looks intimidating.

The "intimidating" part was more of a joke, the rules seem very easy to grasp. It's not that much that I don't like having a lot of options, I do, they just seem a bit unnecessary for the game. It is the only complaint I have about it though, without having played.
cyakobch wrote:
Based on your thread title I was going to suggest Ubongo.
However, having read your post, I don't think it's what you're after, but it never hurts to mention it.
Tsuro would be another, but like Ubongo, the game is the puzzle without other mechanics built on top of it. Tsuro does have a nice price point though, and plays up to 8 people.

I actually have Ubongo 3D, forgot to add it to my game list because I haven't carried it to where I study. I like the game, but not quite what I'm looking for. Tsuro appears to be more of a filler game to me, and I catered to that with my latest purchases, so looking for something more heavy.
ldsdbomber wrote:
What about something like princes of florence which has a puzzle like aspect, if you like the wheel you should look at the new mayan calendar game due to come out at essen

I'll look into them, thanks. I doubt I can get anything that comes out around Essen though, assuming it happens around October.
ekted wrote:
Roma has some nice puzzle-like combos. In fact, what turned me on to it was an image asking what you would do to win.

Noted, but it doesn't seem like it's sold in any Norwegian retailers. I prefer purchasing within my country, as I don't know how much the tolling adds up. I'm also looking for potential birthday gifts, and I think my family is unlikely to purchase anywhere else.
CarlG wrote:
I like these kinds of games as well! Macao is one of my favorite games ever and Trajan is on the way! Also the game Lee referred to, Tzolkin, also reminded me of Macao's windrose but in reverse. Although being that it is a new Essen release it probably won't be all that cheap! You might also want to check out some auction games(like Goa for example) auctions keep you away from obvious math as it is hard to determine te value of the various lots. Also the variable set up and the way the auction is carried out in Goa lends itself to a particular auctions value to shift depending on game state and other tiles up for auction. Aside from the auction aspect there is also the other half of the game of Goa that feels very puzzley to me.

I also just checked your collection and didn't see Macao in there. I
Think that is a bit more streamlined than Trajan as it has two main ways to score points. Also, I am pretty sure you can find it
For alot cheaper.

Macao is certainly a lot cheaper. However, it doesn't seem to be as universally well received, and I'm afraid it might be hard to introduce to my friends. I'm also not as attracted to it as Trajan, the options you have doesn't seem as interesting, and I don't like the implementation of randomness as much. In addition, I already have Troyes for a dice centric resource game.
I've looked a bit at auctions, and I'm probably going to get one of them at some point. However, it's not quite the mental challenge I had in mind, even if it's an enjoyable one.
mjacobsca wrote:
Mage Knight is one of the more puzzle-like games I've ever played. I'm not counting games like Ubongo or Factory Fun, which are ALL puzzle. But in Mage Knight, every hand is a puzzle to be worked out. I've thoroughly enjoyed it, even solo.

I, eh. I'd like to try Mage Knight, but I'm not looking for a "Guys on a map" game, unless those guys are workers. I don't really know the proper term for what games like Agricola, Trajan and Troyes have in common, if there is one.
LostRoom wrote:
Feld is excellent. If Trajan is a bit intimidating take a closer look at Macao. The wind-rose is a really clever mechanic. I seriously don't think you will be disappointed.

Yeah, it's not much myself I'm worried about. I read a bit of reviews on it, and it seemed like everyone fell into extremes of both sides. (Which is often the nature of reviews, but it was more so than most other games I have looked at.)
LostRoom wrote:
Also, take a look at Troyes.

:c

Edit:
cferejohn wrote:
Not sure if co-ops have appeal to you, but Pandemic has very much of a puzzle feel to it.

I really don't like co-op as far as I have experienced.
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Richard Dewsbery
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In terms of games which require you to puzzle out the solution to a problem that the game poses, Mage Knight Board Game and Dungeon Lords both give me the feeling of trying to solve a puzzle.
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Laura Creighton
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Mr. Jack is a puzzle game. It's actually an information-leakage game, and I don't know of any others. I am not sure if it counts as a Euro. There is no mat. And it plays for exactly 2 people, which may make it unsuitable. BGG says that the game plays in 30 minutes -- ours take more like 45.
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Martin Jonassen
Norway
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2 players only is a bit too limited. Some more flexibility in player options is preferable, but if it's set in stone it would probably have to be either 3 or 4.

Tzolkin interests me greatly, but I can't find enough about it to actually make an opinion on it. The board looks more chaotic than tactical, but I don't know how it actually plays out.
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Carl Garber
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Yeah, that is a fair concern with Macao. When Trajan came out I predicted it would make the top 100 as it has the puzzley aspect of Macao without the dice that many gamers don't like. I think gamers that enjoy the decision space of worker placements will much prefer Trajan over Macao, as it is much more chess like and the "best moves" can be figuired out without having to add in the added element of randomness which means dealing with probabilities. If this is your gaming group than definately go with Trajan.

I have also noticed that auctions seem to be a despised by some genre as well, and I think it is for a similar reason that people dislike dice; there is an unknownness to the values of various lots. I understand what you are saying but I would strongly disagree with some of these other games being more "mental" than, for example, a Goa. I think it is harder to get your head around things that have floating values rather than with things with set values. It lends itself to constant evaluation. But it is a VERY different type of mental than what chess or a worker placement will ask of you. If you do venture into the world of Auctions I would strongly suggest starting with Goa. It has a weight of 3.4 but has a pretty clear and straight forward game play and scoring. I think it will provide the "mental" game play that you desire.

Happy Gaming!

Oh, once you make your decision I would love if you would report back with that decision and then also later once you play the game with your impression of it.
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I'll throw in At the Gates of Loyang as a game that is quite the puzzle to do well at.
 
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Martin Jonassen
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CarlG wrote:
Yeah, that is a fair concern with Macao. When Trajan came out I predicted it would make the top 100 as it has the puzzley aspect of Macao without the dice that many gamers don't like. I think gamers that enjoy the decision space of worker placements will much prefer Trajan over Macao, as it is much more chess like and the "best moves" can be figuired out without having to add in the added element of randomness which means dealing with probabilities. If this is your gaming group than definately go with Trajan.

Well, I don't have a definitive gaming group, and are more looking for a variety of games that I enjoy so I will always have something. However, Trajan seems to be more generally well received. The central mechanic is also a bit more into the realm of my interest.
CarlG wrote:
I have also noticed that auctions seem to be a despised by some genre as well, and I think it is for a similar reason that people dislike dice; there is an unknownness to the values of various lots. I understand what you are saying but I would strongly disagree with some of these other games being more "mental" than, for example, a Goa. I think it is harder to get your head around things that have floating values rather than with things with set values. It lends itself to constant evaluation. But it is a VERY different type of mental than what chess or a worker placement will ask of you. If you do venture into the world of Auctions I would strongly suggest starting with Goa. It has a weight of 3.4 but has a pretty clear and straight forward game play and scoring. I think it will provide the "mental" game play that you desire.

I'm not quite sure. Bidding is more evaluating the value of the thing you desire, and in some bidding games has a psychological aspect. Puzzles is more like finding the correct sequence to do something in, or correct placement of objects. I'm not going to say that its not some form of puzzle. In essence, most strategy games are in some way, making it hard to give a concise request. However, it's not the itch I want to scratch right now, even if I would like an open bidding game at one point.
CarlG wrote:
Oh, once you make your decision I would love if you would report back with that decision and then also later once you play the game with your impression of it.

I don't know. I don't expect to get the game before a month or so, and a lot of forums discourage thread necromancy. Especially since Trajan, which seems to be the most likely option, is sold out at my go-to store. So here's hoping it comes back in stock. Although I should probably just get it through the internet, even with tolling prices, given the prices in this country.
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Laura Creighton
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Timbuktu
 
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Martin Jonassen
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I looked at Goa. The auction mechanic didn't interest me all that much, making it an unlikely buy. I really liked the action phase of it though. Being able to customize the strength of them was pretty neat, I can't remember having seen a lot of games that do this. Although I would have liked if it was more than just "bigger numbers." I tried to search for other games, but the Action Allowance category only gave those where different actions cost different amount of points, not quite what I had in mind. And Trajan, for a reason I don't know.

Are there any other games with customizable action selection out there? Traditional combat games obviously do this with stat modifiers like speed and damage, and traits, but it's not quite what I had in mind. I'm going to expand my search somewhat from the original topic, preferably to a game that fits two of these categories:

- Puzzle Subgame
- Customizable action selection
- Multiple victory paths

Random setup and indefinite rounds of playtime is a big bonus.
Oh, and I don't know this for certain, but I don't think I like pick up and delivery games. I don't know how relevant those are, but given the Timbuktu suggestion there might be more. BGG also listed memory as a mechanic in it, which isn't my style.
 
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Staszek Czachórski
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I haven't played any of those, but they seem to fit your description, while being relatively simple.
 
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Martin Jonassen
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StaszekCz wrote:
Vikings
Glen More
Seeland
I haven't played any of those, but they seem to fit your description, while being relatively simple.

I don't mind complexity, as long as it serves some sort of purpose, and are connected in a meaningful way. On your suggestions, I appreciate them. They all had some cute things:

Vikings: I liked some of the subtleties about how the roundel mechanic worked, especially the "most expensive" function. However, the actions themselves were quite uninteresting, it wasn't anything about the game I really wanted to do. Two of the actions are "Get VP", one of them is "Not lose VP". I admit that I didn't find a lot about the game, and the video I watched was rather long, so I didn't get the later parts, but the action wheel itself seemed to be the central mechanic of the game. I prefer when the items I can collect have a wider variety of options and can form some cohesive purpose, I don't think the special tiles will do this.

Glen More: I must say that this game impressed me. I really, really like the turn order mechanic. It's the coolest way I have found for punishing players for going the extra distance to get a better piece, even if I'm undecided on how I feel about such things in general. However, the 2-3 player dice is incredibly of-putting. (Please tell me that thing doesn't have to be used.) I'm not sure if I like the tile laying aspect of it all that much. If nothing else I'll keep an eye on it for the future.

Seeland: I don't really know what to think of this game. It had... Stuff. I dislike the big asymmetry in the tiles you can get, and it overall had a lack of things I want to try out. It seems decent, but that's where it ends too.
 
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Martin Jonassen
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Looks... Interesting. I can't really find a whole lot about it, as it doesn't seem to be out anywhere. The limited player options are also disconcerting, if I want to play alone I'll get a computer game instead. The visual aspect of it is incredibly amusing though.
 
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TS S. Fulk
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RDewsbery wrote:
In terms of games which require you to puzzle out the solution to a problem that the game poses, Mage Knight Board Game and Dungeon Lords both give me the feeling of trying to solve a puzzle.


What Richard said.
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Taylor Nakamoto
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Not beat you to death with Felds, but I feel the way I think you're describing when I play Luna. It may not be readily available now, but I hear Pegasus will be distributing its reprint in the (near?) future.

Check it out.
 
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Ryan Meeker
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Walnut Grove has been described, and aptly so, as a cross between Agricola and Carcassonne.

Check it out, and see if it doesn't scratch that itch.

Happy hunting.
 
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Martin Jonassen
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I feel somewhat bad neglecting all these games, as they all seem pretty good in their own ways. But when there are games that grabs me and makes me feel shameful if I don't own them, then it's pretty hard to compete with them, even if they probably are solid in their own respect. And, well, limited budget.
tssfulk wrote:
RDewsbery wrote:
In terms of games which require you to puzzle out the solution to a problem that the game poses, Mage Knight Board Game and Dungeon Lords both give me the feeling of trying to solve a puzzle.


What Richard said.

I've looked at Mage Knight somewhat extensively, even if I haven't dared the rulebook yet. It's competing with my purchase, but doesn't exactly fit what I'm looking for in this thread. I'm fairly confident that Mage Knight eclipses most other games I have seen within it's category. Dungeon Lord fails to intrigue me. Having to figure out the correct sequence of cards to defeat adventurers sounds fun, but nothing else in the game looked terribly engaging.

Otomakan wrote:
Not beat you to death with Felds, but I feel the way I think you're describing when I play Luna. It may not be readily available now, but I hear Pegasus will be distributing its reprint in the (near?) future.

Check it out.

No worries, although I've looked briefly over the Feld games that I've found accessible video reviews of. To my surprise, I could get a copy of Luna, but my overall impression was a bit "meh", even if Jeremy/Drakkenstrike didn't go through all of the possible actions. I like that the pacing of the game is decided by the players, but the overall experience of the game seemed to be odd. I don't know, but overall, I like his other "quirky" mechanics more. I think the only game of his that might be interesting but I haven't looked too much into is In the year of the dragon, I think.
callow wrote:
Walnut Grove has been described, and aptly so, as a cross between Agricola and Carcassonne.

Check it out, and see if it doesn't scratch that itch.

Happy hunting.

I sort of like Carcassonne, but not by that much. I like watching the area expand, but Walnut Grove would probably just make me mad if people didn't match the colors. As a strategical game, it doesn't really scratch any itch. I think one of my problems is that resource generation is in a different phase from the spend phase, and I'd rather have some sort of tension where you need to choose between advancing your game plan and producing enough to do it.

Regarding the Mage Knight comment, I've sort of been looking at these games recently:
Dominant Species
Mage Knight
Trajan

I keep looking at each one and going "Eek, I want this one", and then I look at the next one and say the same, never being able to decide. I'd pitch it to my game group, but I don't think any of them are as terribly invested in it as I am, at least not enough to do any research on it. The one that might be the exception seemed to take an interest when I talked about it, but I somewhat doubt how objective he is when his reaction to my very brief explanation of DS was "I like area control! :D", I should do some investigation on the roots of that. They're all very different, so it's hard to decide. The point of this thread was possibly to find some obscure game that would be perfect so I wouldn't have to worry about it, given my enjoyment of puzzle games. The other option was finding a Trajan replacement at a lower price tier, since all the three are fairly expensive. And if nothing else, I have something to look forward to the future, like Christmas or something if nothing else, or to suggest to my school's tabletop group if they intend to spend any of the support money on board games in comparison to rpg's. /words
 
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