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Subject: Please help with recommendations! rss

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Michael Warren
United States
Fair Oaks
California
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Hi, I'm pretty new to board games in the sense that I have played very few of the ones that I have seen on here. I mostly play with my wife, but sometimes play with 3,4 or even up to six or seven people.

My wife's favorite game, by far, is Settlers of Catan. It's basically the only game she ever wants to play. When it's just the two of us, though, we play either Ticket to Ride: Europe or Ticket to Ride: Nordic.

When we are in larger groups, we'll still pull out Settlers with the 5-6 person expansion (at the wife's behest). We also enjoy Pandemic and Bang.

I'm the nerdiest one I know so Twilight Struggle appealed to me, but I don't know if the wife would be wild about it. Other games I looked at have been Kill Doctor Lucky, Carcassonne, Domaine, El Grande, and Power Grid.

Basically, I need some help. I'm not very interested in deck building games (eg Dominion), and I don't want something that lasts longer that 90 minutes. Two hours would be the max, as the people I play with cannot handle a game that long (though I tend to enjoy it). Preferably a game that can be scaled from 2 people to four or five. Maybe separate games for 2 people, 4 people, and then larger group games would be very helpful.

Thank you so much for your help. I submit to the wisdom of those on the forum. Thank you.
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Brian Lyons
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I usually just play with the wife too and games she took to was
Tobago Decent 2 player,but will play up to 4
Letters From Whitechapel Best with 2 but I think will play 6
and for some reason she took a liking to Claustrophobia Just a 2 player game. But she only like's playing the Demons.
Were more into family board games and not euro's so im not sure what you will like,but this is a small list that my family enjoys.
The Adventurers
Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Blokus
Fearsome Floors
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Jason Edwards
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Carcassone will work.

For two and for more my best bet for your situation is Lords of Waterdeep.
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J.A.H. van de Laak
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Do you know "Thurn and Taxis" Its a nice game for 2 - 4 players.



Its a push your luck, route making game.

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4 people or larger groups: 7 Wonders

3 or 4 people, like Settlers but different: Ad Astra

2-4: Stone Age (5 with expansion)
2-4: Ra: The Dice Game
2-4: Wasabi!
2-5: Navegador
2-5: Piece o' Cake
3-5: No Thanks!


Coops: Pandemic, Flash Point, Forbidden Island; all work with 2-4
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Kevin B. Smith
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So far it sounds like you have played games that don't have a lot of direct attacks. Do you play TtR with heavy blocking, to try to prevent each other from completing routes, or do you "play nice"? Several mentioned games have much more of a confrontational feel, which you and your wife might enjoy or hate.

Rivals for Catan provides some of the "flavor" of Catan in a 2p card game format. But mechanically it's not all that close. It's cheap, so worth a look. Some of the decks have a lot of attacks, while others let each player mostly work in their own space.

I recently got Africana, and based on a few games, it seems like a really nice alternative to TtR. Plays 2-4, and seems to work well at all counts.

+1 Lords of Waterdeep (2-5 players) or Stone Age (2-4 I think). Roughly similar in complexity, so pick the one that appeals to you more in terms of theme and mechanics.

+1 7 Wonders as a "next-step" game, especially with 5-7 players. It's fine with 3-4, but so are a lot of other games, so I don't bother unless it's a larger group. By "next step" I mean it's not one I would throw at Cousin Eddy who has never played a modern boardgame before, but it's doable for someone who has already played TtR or Catan.

+1 Ra: The Dice Game as a game that uses the familiar Yahtzee mechanic, but adds an interesting scoring system. Another light but interesting dice game is Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age, which has a civilization-building theme.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a nice co-op that is comparable to Pandemic, but feels somewhat different. I think it goes 2-6, although my one game with 6 dragged a bit. Probably best with 3-5.

You mentioned Power Grid. I know some people consider it to be a "gateway" game, but it's definitely on the heavier side. And has a ton of blocking on the map. And a fair bit of arithmetic. And it can go long. So choose your audience carefully.

El Grande was too chaotic and attacky for me to enjoy, but I know it's very popular here.

Carcassonne is a pretty safe choice if you find it appealing. My wife thought it was boring, and hated that you could "steal" each other's farms (and cities).
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J.A.H. van de Laak
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+1 Rivals for Catan (2 player game only)
 
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David B
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You want The Castles of Burgundy, a dice game that plays great with 2 and scales up to 4 very well and relies much less on luck than Catan does. It will take one or two games to learn the meaning of the tiles, but by the third game it will play smooth as silk.

Another game that scales extremely well from 2 to 5 players and plays quickly is Glen More. Its a tile laying game (FAR better than Carcasonne...there is just not enough going on in Carcasonne to keep it interesting for very long) that includes an interesting mechanic to acquire the tiles, resource production and management, and a player controlled market where goods can be bought/sold. The game is very easy, but the rules are written a tad weird. If they leave you with a question, watch the "Reviews Without Pants" video/tutorial of the game included on that game's page. Great brief video that makes the rules crystal clear.

Of the two, I think Glen More may fit your tastes better. But both are fantastic games. Oh, and I forgot to mention both games are inexpensive. But you can get Glen More for around $20 new and sometimes less if you look hard enough. And that is an amazing deal for what the game includes and the way it plays. Gamesurplus.com is a great place to look and Rockin' B Games is a great seller that posts in the geekmarket place here on the site.


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Moe45673
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first off: Buy an expansion for Settlers. I recommend Catan: Traders & Barbarians. It comes with a bunch of variants and scenarios, but I played the title scenario and thought the game was exponentially better. Extra paths to victory and I'm a sucker for games where you improve your engine over time (in this case, it's the ability to upgrade your wagon). Also, T&B comes with the event deck which allows you to mitigate the times where your 6s and 8s NEVER come up.

There are some excellent Settlers' killers out there

One that comes immediately to mind is Lords of Vegas - watch Tom Vasel's review of it. It's got loads of dice but it evokes the Vegas/gambling theme wonderfully well. You rarely feel like you got the short end of the stick, like you can in Catan. This game does everything Settlers does but better, IMO. Plays 2-4, best with 3/4. Never played it with 2, so I can't say

Navegador is a great suggestion. A great game about colonizing, with a player driven market and trying to build up your points. It's one of the top games for a reason. Scales well too

Homesteaders is amazing. How they packed such a tense, tight economic Euro into 60 minutes can leave you speechless. It may not seem like it from the rules, but it definitely feels like Agricola in that you can never seem to get everything you need to do what you want, so you have to plan carefully (only with less brain burn). Scales very well 2-4, lots of replayability

Hansa Teutonica is a cool Euro that plays great 3-5. Simple rules with route/engine building and some direct player interaction, but it never gets too nasty (if that's a problem for your wife). Also plays in 60-90 minutes. I'd say this is a good compromise for folks who like to screw over others directly and folks that like multiplayer solitaire, only it's a compromise where both parties would walk away happy!

Rivals for Catan is great. I sold Catan but kept Rivals. It's not perfect (can go on a bit long sometimes) but it's damned good.

The Castles of Burgundy I've never played, but it seems to be a good choice, especially for couples

Village is something new and gets a lot of love. A step beyond gateway, it plays 2-4 in 60-90 minutes and is really hot right now. The theme is generations in a village and is quite charming, IMO.
Watch this review to see: http://boardgamegeek.com/video/19410/village/drivethrureview...

Power Grid is a fun game, but not great at 2. If you insist, buy The Robots expansion
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Malko Mann
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I think you could get some inspiration from my last thread here - it seems like there are a lot of similarities between you and I in terms of what we seek recommendations for.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/847859/recommendations-for-l...

I have just ordered the games on the buy list, so I can't comment on them quite yet, but I've attempted to find some good 2-player games that also work well with 4-5 players (except for the two 2-player only games, obviously).
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Michael Warren
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Thank you so much for all of the recommendations! In the end, I picked up Thurn and Taxis. It looked like the game my wife would most like out of all of the choices (plus its price point convinced me). We both really like it.

Unfortunately, my wife is still convinced that Settlers of Catan is the BEST (I like it fine). Now, I'm in the hunt again. I was wondering which of these three would you suggest to replace settlers:
Glen More
Navegador
Macao

We do like some direct conflict and prefer it over multiplayer solitaire. Also, space themes don't intrigue us very much. And thanks for suggesting Castles of Burgundy and Hansa Teutonica. I've looked at both of these a lot, including reviews, but I just can't get excited about them.

Just curious to hear your suggestions, as your previous ones were right on the money. Thanks again for all of your help.
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Jane
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Hey I'm new to board games too so from a newbie point of view and from someone who also loves Ticket To Ride and not interested in deck-building I recommend:

+1 Carcassonne
I bought this even though I didn't think it looked that amazing, just because so many people were recommending it. It was a HUGE hit with my boyfriend, which I didn't expect at all, and I love it too. People will recommend various expansions, some saying they are "essential" and I listened to this advice and bought Builders & Traders and Inns & Cathedrals at the same time as the base game because I got it into my head that the base game wouldn't be as good on its own or wouldn't be 'enough'. This isn't necessary at all. If you choose Carcassonne, just get the base game because it is awesome on its own with plenty of replay value. Get the expansions later (I recommend the 2 aforementioned ones). A bonus point is that it's relatively cheap!

+1 Lords of Waterdeep
This must be one of the best produced games ever. It's also really really fun. The gameplay is so smooth. I think it's about a 60 minute game or so but it never ever feels like it's dragging. It's just a joy to play. If you're interested in the worker placement mechanic this is a great game to get. (If you're not interested in the worker placement mechanic this is still a great game to get )

Battle Line
If you don't mind abstract card games then this is an excellent 2 player game. I was expecting something light and fluffy but we both feel this game is brutal! The theme is so completely and ridiculously pasted on so it really is just an abstract card game, mostly of set collection ie getting 'runs' or 'sets' of eg "4, 5, 6" in the same colour or 3 cards of the same number and then having your set beat your opponent's set eg 3 x 8s will beat 3 x 7s or 2,3,4 in the same colour beats 1,2,3 in the same colour. So the rules are very simple and very easy to learn so it is a light game in that respect. However, for us anyway, it is full of tension especially nearer the end and I suppose there is a little bit of 'push your luck' in that when you play a card sometimes you're thinking "I really hope he/she doesn't have X card!". Overall, awesome game for 2.

sickballer wrote:
Now, I'm in the hunt again. I was wondering which of these three would you suggest to replace settlers:


Do you know what it is she likes about Settlers?
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Laura Creighton
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qudoz wrote:
Do you know what it is she likes about Settlers?


That is the question. If the answer is 'I like dice rolling as a randomising mechanism' then check out Alien Frontiers.
 
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Kevin Shillinglaw
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As mentioned above, a Settlers expansion may be the way to go for now. Trades & Barbarians is an excellent choice as is Catan: Cities & Knights. Cities and Knights adds a tech tree for your cities and random barbarians that attack the island, making the players work together to defend against them.

If it is the dice rolling that she likes, you may be interested in Alea Iacta Est. It does have direct conflict and isn't space themed. With two players, I would suggest playing the variant where you remove all the provinces and patricians of one colour. If you research the game that'll make sense.

I haven't played any of the three you mentioned, so I can't comment on those except to say that I have read the rules of Glen More and that game does look very good. Plus it has whiskey!
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Marty Mcfly
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Sounds exaclty where a was about a year ago. Settlers of Catan was a favorite and still his to this day.

My first recommendation would be Lords of Waterdeep. Everyone I have shown this game fell in love with it. Some felt the need to buy the game after one play. It's not hard to learn and teach. Once familiar, we can play a 4 player game in about an hour.

Another game that was mentioned is Thurn and Taxi. If you like Ticket to ride, this one falls within the same line, just a little deeper.

7 Wonders is great since the games are played fast and it can be played with up to 7 players.
 
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Michael Warren
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Thanks again for the great replies. I think that it is the slight randomizing factor with the dice that makes her like settlers more so I will definitely look into the games you mentioned. My one concern with an expansion to settlers is that it'll make the game last too long
 
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Michael Warren
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By too long I mean that our max is around the ninety minute mark.

But I will definitely look into the games you mentioned. Thanks again everyone for your insight.
 
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Eren Koyunoglu
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You might also like Puerto Rico.
 
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Jane
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sickballer wrote:
Thanks again for the great replies. I think that it is the slight randomizing factor with the dice that makes her like settlers more so I will definitely look into the games you mentioned. My one concern with an expansion to settlers is that it'll make the game last too long


I know you said Castles of Burgundy didn't appeal to you but it didn't appeal to me either from video reviews and I bought it anyway and found that it's actually awesome. It has the random factor with dice rolls too.

There's a random factor with Carcassonne with tile pulling too.
 
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Andreas
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I hope I am not late. I am the resident "Spiel des Jahres" fan out here and retro family gamer so my taste is - like everybodies here - my own and not necessarily Yours. But from experience I might explain a few things which could maybe help You in Your decision making process.

a) New versus old games: People here tend to recommend new games as they are in everybodies mind, the older ones are often either forgotten or played out. For You everything is new so a game from 1980 can have the same benefits as one from 2012. Advantage 1980: You can get it used on ebay or amazon or even a decent thrift store depending on Your location.

b) Awards: You do seem to need games that are wife and friend-friendly. Not too difficult for now, not too long. No war or space games. Look into the Spiel des Jahres winners from years past. The SDJ is for a family game (some luck - seems Your wife likes that but so do many others too, it also does wonders for equalizing different skill levels -, easy to learn but not so easy to master, playing time usually 45-60 minutes, good quality and presentation, friendly theme). Catan won the SDJ, Ticket to ride did, and many of the recommended games in this thread like Thurn and Taxis, Carcassonne etc. did too.

c) Two player vs. multiplayer: Most games are best with 4 players. Some are not officially recommended for 2 or just not as good with two. If You really want a two player game there are a few that would work really well with two: Carcassonne, Thurn and Taxis, Scotland Yard... But for the husband and wife combo You should look into dedicated two player games. Kosmos has a two player series "games for 2" which has really good games that are specially tailored for this situation. The most often recommended one being Lost Cities. The new Targi is good too but I dont think its out in English - yet.

d) Designer: If You like a certain game You could look for other designs from the specific author. Like one reads books by a certain author. Its a bit early for Your collection but why not look into Klaus Jürgen Wredes works (Carcassonne) or Klaus Teuber. My favourite designer is Wolfgang Kramer (El Grande).

Hope I could shed a tiny ray of light on a few issues. Its often more helpful to look at the "why" of things.
 
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