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Subject: Simple ruleset yet flashy Ameritrash game rss

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Kyle Thompson
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I am looking for a game from my brother-in-law that he can play with his sister over Thanksgiving. He has to work and my wife is actually going to fly over there for Thanksgiving so he is not alone over the Holiday. I have been racking my brain and have come up with a few mentionable games but still nothing that stands out for me. He is also a big time video games fan but sticks with FPS games only or Civ games.

Requirements:
2-4 players with solo play a plus
Simple rules so he can play with his friends and keep his interest
Flashy, highly detailed artwork
Great theme is a huge plus
Likes either sci-fi futuristic or medieval to stone age
**His normal group is one non-gamer and one budding gamer so 2-3 players**

Games he likes a lot:
7 Wonders
Catan without expansions
Zombie Dice

Games he enjoys:
BANG! The Bullet!
Small World
Quarriors!

Games he does not like:
Reiner Knizia (everything by him especially Lost Cities)
Puerto Rico This took too long to set up
Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game Once he saw the cards and board he lost interest



Games on my radar to get for him:
Small World I have been struggling with this one since it sucks 2 player.
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization Kind of expensive and lots to set up
Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game My most returned to possibility
Lords of Waterdeep A long shot but could be fun
Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game Hefty on price

I was thinking of sending my wife up there with one of my Summoner Wars sets. The only thing is she is very timid about taking so much stuff that costs so much on the plane with her. I would still like to get him a game though, and if anything just ship it to his house now.

 
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Laura Creighton
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no solo, but otherwise Alien Frontiers looks like it might fit the bill.
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Kolby Reddish
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Even though it's costly, I was going to suggest Zombicide. I think its a great fit, even if it's not the exact right theme, it's very thematic and a blast to play.
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juan c marquez
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Survive escape from Atlantis. Great game 2-4 (6p if you buy expansion).
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Charlie Theel
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Space Hulk: Death Angel the card game is a good suggestion.
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.308 Jake
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Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game
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Scott Hill
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reddish22 wrote:
Even though it's costly, I was going to suggest Zombicide. I think its a great fit, even if it's not the exact right theme, it's very thematic and a blast to play.


That.
 
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Kyle Thompson
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lacreighton wrote:
no solo, but otherwise Alien Frontiers looks like it might fit the bill.

Hmm, I have never seen this game before. I think I might pick this up for me after the holiday season if anything.

trippercook wrote:

How well does this game play with 2 players though? The only way I have ever played it was 3 and 4.

reddish22 wrote:
Even though it's costly, I was going to suggest Zombicide. I think its a great fit, even if it's not the exact right theme, it's very thematic and a blast to play.

Is Zombicide really better than Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game? They seem amazingly similar with a new skin and added zombie types.
 
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Andrew Empacher
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Gears of War

He likes FPS and it does have a solo game. Nice and flashy but simple rules.
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Elder Sign
or possibly King of Tokyo

I don't think Through the Ages would be a good fit at all.
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Scott Hill
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Prasamaccus wrote:
reddish22 wrote:
Even though it's costly, I was going to suggest Zombicide. I think its a great fit, even if it's not the exact right theme, it's very thematic and a blast to play.

Is Zombicide really better than Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game? They seem amazingly similar with a new skin and added zombie types.


Not played LNOE myself, but from what others have said, they're very different games:

- Zombicide is pure co-op, LNOE is many (survivor players) against one (zombie player).
- Zombicide is simple (light-weight rules), LNOE is complex (lots of rules and things to keep track of).
- Zombicide has LOTS of zombies, LNOE has a few.
- Zombicide has you killing zombies, LNOE has you running away from them.
 
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Kyle Thompson
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I think I need to set a $45-$50 limit. I am already spending $800 on plane tickets and stuff.

Gears of War: The Board Game and King of Tokyo are awesome suggestions.

Keep em' coming guys! Thanks a lot.
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Shane Larsen
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Here are my thoughts on your consideration list:

Prasamaccus wrote:
Small World I have been struggling with this one since it sucks 2 player.

Correct. It sucks with two players. Don't get it if you're really going to play with two. And in my opinion, it's just okay with more.
Prasamaccus wrote:
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization Kind of expensive and lots to set up

If you're looking for simple rules, this game is on the opposite side of the universe. Based on what you've told us about him, he will definitely NOT like this game.
Prasamaccus wrote:
Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game My most returned to possibility

This game is notoriously fiddly. And not only is the setup too taxing for what the game is, but you have to do a couple different setups as you enter new rooms throughout. If he was turned off by the look and setup of Blook Bowl Team Manager, it will probably be a similar experience with this one. Additionally, the rule book for this game is horrendous.
Prasamaccus wrote:
Lords of Waterdeep A long shot but could be fun

Why is it a long shot? It's actually the most simple on your list, one of the prettiest, and I've heard it works great at all play counts. The only way it doesn't fit is that it doesn't have rules for solo play.
Prasamaccus wrote:

I've never played it, but it seems to fit all your criteria. The game I would recommend that is in the same category as this, but has even simpler rules and has a sci-fi theme instead of fantasy, is this one:

Gears of War: The Board Game - The fact that it's based on a video game could either be a good or bad thing, depending on his affinity for the video-game series. I've never played the video game and I'm not much of a video gamer, but I love this game. The only way it doesn't fit your description is with setup. There is a bit of setup at first. But once you get used to it, it actually goes very quickly. Give it a couple plays and he'll be fine with it. What's great about it is how simple the actions are in the game. You draw one card, play one card, and do one thing (sometimes doing what the card says involves a couple things, but it's all written on the card). That one thing you do on your turn can change the game state dramatically. Your actions really count here. It's very slick, and it definitely is a chromed-out, Ameritrashy game.

That's my suggestion. I hope this helps. Good luck and have fun!


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Laura Creighton
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thedacker wrote:

Prasamaccus wrote:
Lords of Waterdeep A long shot but could be fun

Why is it a long shot? It's actually the most simple on your list, one of the prettiest, and I've heard it works great at all play counts. The only way it doesn't fit is that it doesn't have rules for solo play.




You heard wrong. LoW does not work at all well with 2.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/825134/lords-of-watered-down...

Also, for many people LoW hits the sour spot. There is too much 'fantasy rpg theme' for people who hate D&D, while the theme is shallow and pasted on for people who are seriously into theme 'another boring Euro'. Apparantly this means it is exactly the sweet spot for some others, but I wouldn't purchase it for somebody unless I was sure it was going to be a hit.
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Nexus Ops is sci-fi, 2-4 players, and is easy to play.
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Shane Larsen
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lacreighton wrote:
thedacker wrote:

Prasamaccus wrote:
Lords of Waterdeep A long shot but could be fun

Why is it a long shot? It's actually the most simple on your list, one of the prettiest, and I've heard it works great at all play counts. The only way it doesn't fit is that it doesn't have rules for solo play.




You heard wrong. LoW does not work at all well with 2.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/825134/lords-of-watered-down...

Also, for many people LoW hits the sour spot. There is too much 'fantasy rpg theme' for people who hate D&D, while the theme is shallow and pasted on for people who are seriously into theme 'another boring Euro'. Apparantly this means it is exactly the sweet spot for some others, but I wouldn't purchase it for somebody unless I was sure it was going to be a hit.


Interesting. The people I played with said it works great with two. Good to hear the contrary. So that rules out this as an option too.

As for the theme, I personally don't like the D&D world and if I had not known that it was D&D based, I wouldn't have seen it as anything especially fantasy-RPGish. The theme was thick, but nothing overwhelming. I just saw it as chromy, or fleshed-out, which was cool, IMO.
 
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Sean Boyll
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King of Tokyo fits exactly with your requirements. It is a damn fun game.

Next I would look at Alien Frontiers. The basics of the game are simple. But as players learn the game it becomes very cutthroat. Another damn fun game.

I have found these game to appeal to video gamers.

The Gears of War game is more complex and fiddly that these other two. While it does a good job of mimicking the mechanics of the video game, the feel it provides has not sat well with some fans of the video game.
 
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Matt Brown
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The only correct answer.

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Charlie Theel
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Gears of War is a good game but it is definitely medium weight and NOT simple. If you think Space Hulk: Death Angel is too fiddly to recommend I'm not sure how you can think Gears of War is OK. You have 9 different places for cards on the table (not counting your hand for each player) each player has several cards in front of them, tokens on those cards, tokens on the board, reference cards for room which stay on the board for rooms that can be activated, a range ruler, piles of enemy wound tokens which need to be flipped occassionally, etc. You also need to dig out and separate all the cards to begin with and find the mission cards and monster cards for the mission you want to play. You also have to reference the book for the specific mission to see the special rules.

Will your friend be able to get through a 30 page rulebook (Gears of War)?
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Keith Dennard
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Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Prasamaccus wrote:
reddish22 wrote:
Even though it's costly, I was going to suggest Zombicide. I think its a great fit, even if it's not the exact right theme, it's very thematic and a blast to play.

Is Zombicide really better than Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game? They seem amazingly similar with a new skin and added zombie types.


Not played LNOE myself, but from what others have said, they're very different games:

- Zombicide is pure co-op, LNOE is many (survivor players) against one (zombie player).
- Zombicide is simple (light-weight rules), LNOE is complex (lots of rules and things to keep track of).
- Zombicide has LOTS of zombies, LNOE has a few.
- Zombicide has you killing zombies, LNOE has you running away from them.


I haven't played Zombicide, but I have to speak up for LNOE. It does have players against each other, and scales well from 2 to 6 players.
- Not sure where the complexity idea came from because it is actually pretty straightforward. The ruleset is easy to follow, and the cards add lots of wrinkles to the game, but there isn't really much to keep track of other than wounds and the turn marker.
- LNOE does have fewer zombies, but they recycle continuously throughout the game.
- in LNOE, you spend a fair amount of time killing zombies, as well, but the scenarios really add variety because you can make each game diffrent.

LNOE is a great game with loads of theme and some fun expansions. It really gives the feel of being in a zombie movie, and I would highly recommend it.
 
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Scott Hill
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Akden wrote:
Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Prasamaccus wrote:
reddish22 wrote:
Even though it's costly, I was going to suggest Zombicide. I think its a great fit, even if it's not the exact right theme, it's very thematic and a blast to play.

Is Zombicide really better than Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game? They seem amazingly similar with a new skin and added zombie types.


Not played LNOE myself, but from what others have said, they're very different games:

- Zombicide is pure co-op, LNOE is many (survivor players) against one (zombie player).
- Zombicide is simple (light-weight rules), LNOE is complex (lots of rules and things to keep track of).
- Zombicide has LOTS of zombies, LNOE has a few.
- Zombicide has you killing zombies, LNOE has you running away from them.


I haven't played Zombicide, but I have to speak up for LNOE. It does have players against each other, and scales well from 2 to 6 players.
- Not sure where the complexity idea came from because it is actually pretty straightforward. The ruleset is easy to follow, and the cards add lots of wrinkles to the game, but there isn't really much to keep track of other than wounds and the turn marker.
- LNOE does have fewer zombies, but they recycle continuously throughout the game.
- in LNOE, you spend a fair amount of time killing zombies, as well, but the scenarios really add variety because you can make each game diffrent.

LNOE is a great game with loads of theme and some fun expansions. It really gives the feel of being in a zombie movie, and I would highly recommend it.


Well, as I stated I was reporting what others have said, and so, having not played LNOE myself, as I also stated, it may have got distorted in transmission.

However, I think probably, from what you've also said, the complexity things is more a matter of degree - Zombicide is uber-simple - there aren't "cards" that "add lots of wrinkles to the game" - the weapons all fit a template, for example, so once you know how that works you know how all the weapons work (aside from a couple of very minor exceptions).

The rulebook is 28 pages, 11 of those are scenario descriptions, and of the rest, aside from the front cover, and the 1 page rule summary on the back, there's a page of contents, 1 and a half listing all the survivor skills (which are all very simple and take one or two sentences to explain), and the rest could easily be boiled down to a handful of pages, if you removed all the examples, half-page illustrations, and so on. In fact the game boils down to "Each survivor gets 3 actions, normally, most things cost 1 action, some require specific equipment, or types of equipment, you can only find equipment in buildings, zombies spawn at designated sites, and in buildings, and attack or move. Kill the zombies and achieve the mission objectives to win" - everything else just details the mechanics of achieving those things.

And, regarding zombie numbers, in Zombicide, whilst the zombies do also recycle, you can end up with all the zombies miniatures in the game (all 65 of them) on the board at the same time (though, when that happens, you're probably going to die very quickly) which really does give a good sense of a massive zombie hoard, whereas, as I understand it, in LNOE you may have half-a-dozen to a dozen or so zombies in play at any one time.

Finally, regarding the 'killing' vs 'running away' balance, again it's only based on what others have reported, but it's my understanding that the balance is far more favoured towards killing in Zombicide than in LNOE - both games involve killing, searching, and running away, but in LNOE it more a case of run away, search, and kill when you have to, whereas in Zombicide it's kill, search, run away when you have to.

Again, from what I understand.

Oh, and Zombicide also has scenarios, and a modular board, so it too has various settings, with varying objectives, and different threats.
 
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thedacker wrote:
lacreighton wrote:
thedacker wrote:

Prasamaccus wrote:
Lords of Waterdeep A long shot but could be fun

Why is it a long shot? It's actually the most simple on your list, one of the prettiest, and I've heard it works great at all play counts. The only way it doesn't fit is that it doesn't have rules for solo play.




You heard wrong. LoW does not work at all well with 2.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/825134/lords-of-watered-down...

Also, for many people LoW hits the sour spot. There is too much 'fantasy rpg theme' for people who hate D&D, while the theme is shallow and pasted on for people who are seriously into theme 'another boring Euro'. Apparantly this means it is exactly the sweet spot for some others, but I wouldn't purchase it for somebody unless I was sure it was going to be a hit.


Interesting. The people I played with said it works great with two. Good to hear the contrary. So that rules out this as an option too.

As for the theme, I personally don't like the D&D world and if I had not known that it was D&D based, I wouldn't have seen it as anything especially fantasy-RPGish. The theme was thick, but nothing overwhelming. I just saw it as chromy, or fleshed-out, which was cool, IMO.


It all depends on the people I guess, because I think Lords of Waterdeep is fine with 2 players, it is one of the few that scales well with all players, though the 5 and 2 player games play so different that it is almost like a different game all together.

You say he hates long set up but I see many if not most of these suggestions have fairly long set up times for the novice gamer, sure Zombicide might be fast for an experienced gamer, especially one that gets plano boxes for everything, but if your brother-in-law thought Puerto Rico took too long, than most big box games are going to be WAY too long.

I think your best bet is sending along either Summoner Wars: Phoenix Elves vs Tundra Orcs or Summoner Wars: Guild Dwarves vs Cave Goblins. The box is so small it could fit in your wife's purse.

Alien Frontiers is a fantastic game, but if he prefers more of a fantasy setting you can go with Kingsburg, though neither are that ameritrashy.

If 2 player is a plus then he should check out Dominion. After the first game he could get this in and out of the box in less time than 7 Wonders, Quarriors, or definitely Settlers. Plus, if its a hit he can just add expansions to make it infinitely replayable. If the theme is too boring, you could try Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin, which is super easy to teach and plays very well solo, it does have possibly the longest set up and tear down of any of the deck builders. The other deck builders that are a touch more complicated than Dominion but are much more thematic and play just about as fast would be Core Worlds and Eminent Domain, both of which are solid choices.

I would also give a plug for my current favorite game, Glory to Rome, which you can get out of the box and playing in under 2 minutes, but it is not very flashy, nor is it easy to teach. Some argue it isn't very good 2 players, but I find that it plays fast enough that even on a poor draw for buildings you can end the game very quickly and start a new one. You can also do a Netrunner style house rule where you get to redraw your starting hand if it sucks. Speaking of which, Netrunner might be another option for him in terms of theme, easy to set up and mind blowingly awesome, the only problem is it doesn't play more than 2.

Hope these suggestions help. I may have drifted near the end from the ultimate goalmodest
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Shane Larsen
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charlest wrote:
Gears of War is a good game but it is definitely medium weight and NOT simple. If you think Space Hulk: Death Angel is too fiddly to recommend I'm not sure how you can think Gears of War is OK.
Will your friend be able to get through a 30 page rulebook (Gears of War)?


I get what you're saying--there are a lot of pieces in Gears of War. But I'm going to stand by my original opinion. Gears of War flows much more smoothly and plays a lot cleaner than Space Hulk: Death Angel. Maybe it's the abstractness of SH: DA that makes it so pesky to me. Maybe it's the multiple-action-selection-per-player phase that makes the decisions convoluted. Maybe it's just the way cards lay out to create "rooms". Whatever it is, it's less fluid, especially for new gamers. For example, entering a new room in SH: DA means reconfiguring several cards and where the aliens are on those cards, while entering a new room in Gears of War is one tile which is a new room, you just place it down on the table. Simpler, cleaner, easier. The abstract nature of SH: DA makes the theme much less connected, therefore less engaging to me too. Moving miniatures around in a tile with spaces for movement like in GoW is easier for me to process. Line of sight is as easy as it comes in this game. I taught my 9-year old nephew how to work line of sight and he could practically finish my explanation after I had told him part of the rules. We're talking very easy. And just because the game has a lot of pieces, or the game has a bigger footprint, doesn't mean it's more fiddly, or more complex. IMO, this is a case when the opposite is true.

I owned SH: DA, twice! The first time I was pretty new in the board-gaming world and trying to work through the rulebook was like studying for a chemistry final (which I found a boring subject). I traded it away quickly. Then about a year went by and I had come a long way in understanding rules. I decided to give it another chance. I played it a couple times and I hated the way things went, again. Unclear rules, convoluted play, pesky abstracted room movement, unsmooth action selection rules, and a whole lot of nearly purely dice-based outcomes. I traded it away.

I then got Gears of War in hopes to have my faith rejuvenated in Corey K. It did just that. I was able to set things up much more easily. I got right into the game. I was engaged with the theme and I found it played quicker, smoother, and funner than SH: DA.

As for the rulebook: I had a much easier time reading through the 30-page GoW rulebook than I did the however-many-page rulebook that came with SH: DA. I'm not saying that either of them are "good" rule books--FFG has come a long way in this category just this year--but GoW's rule book is better than SH: DA's rulebook for sure.

In the end, to each his own.
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Charlie Theel
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I will give it to you that the Space Hulk: Death Angel rulebook is poorly laid out and can be difficult to understand. However, your initial comparison of changing rooms in SHA and Gears is off - changing rooms in Death Angel is closer to changing areas in Gears of War (they happen about as often, although you may have one additional room change in SHDA). Gears is way more complicated in this regard.

I'm a big Gears of War fan by the way, so don't take my points as hating.
 
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Especially for a video gamer.
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