Aidan Mirisola-Sullivan
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Hey All:

I'm looking to get my two good friends back into boardgaming regularly with me. When I shared an apartment with them, I had a captive audience, and regularly strong armed them into sitting down for a game or two. Now that we don't live together, I'd like to find a game that they find compelling enough to ask me to sit down and play. (Isn't this our eternal struggle, on some level, as board game nerds?) Here are some qualifications:

- Nothing that plays over 2 hours.
- Very easy on the direct player conflict. (Raiding in Alien Frontiers is *almost* too much.)
- Multiplayer solitaire is okay, if the game is compelling.
- We like to drink and socialize while gaming so, once the rules are internalized, being able to carry on meta conversations and get a couple of beers are key.
- Something that scales from 2-4/5 would be great.
- No pure abstracts, unless you think it's just that good.
- Thematically, no fantasy stuff. I'm just too burnt out on it, and I don't think it's a compelling theme for the others in my group.
- Themes that we all enjoy? Space, sci-fi, anything related to building or constructing a board or tableau (think Agricola: All Creatures B & S, Taluva).
- Other games that have been successful: Alien Frontiers (this is far and away our most played game), Zooloretto.
- Big bonus for a game that features a particularly unique or beautiful design, visually.

Games I'm currently considering: Galaxy Trucker, Core Worlds, Agricola. I'm going to try Finca out the next time we game. Race for the Galaxy is one of my fave two player games, but I'm afraid its heavy reliance on iconography will be off-putting.

Give me your thoughts! Thanks BGG collective.

Kindly,

Aidan

edit: spelling Taluva properly .

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Galaxy Trucker sounds like it would be fun for you.

Last Will is worth looking at (tableau, fun theme).

Agricola might be a tad long with 4/5 players, but after a learning game, you should be under 2 hours with 3 experienced players.

Castles of Burgundy has lots of dice to roll, and a player board to build.
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Sophia Lechner
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It sounds like you're looking for Ad Astra.

It's an economic civ-building space game with no direct conflict at all - you're just preprogramming actions for everyone to do (trying to select actions that are more beneficial for you than others, of course!).

It's also visually distinctive, as requested, with stars and planets scattered across the playing surface rather than on a fixed board.

The only way it doesn't perfectly tick your requirements is that the players are 3-5, rather than 2-5.
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David Bailey
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When it comes back into print, I'd recommend Taluva . Beautiful board building, simple but deep rules, and very light conflict.

You mentioned Finca, and it is really good for the situation you're describing. Another suggestion for a lighter game that is still a lot of fun would be Cartagena .
 
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Jordan Fraser
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I think Ninjato meets all your criteria except that it plays a maximum of four and I'm not sure if the theme appeals to you. It doesn't get the attention I feel it deserves.
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David B
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Tobago

Modular very appealing board. You go driving all over a tropical island with your ATV searching for buried treasure. BUT, it only plays up to 4.



Another suggestion with a very unique board that fits all your criteria:

Notre Dame.

It combines card drafting with a hint of worker placement. Plus you have to kill rats! An added plus is this one scales very well from 2 to 5. The board is put together different for differing numbers of players.


Oh...and another suggestion:
San Juan.
This is the card game version of Puerto Rico. It involves constructing buildings, which are pictured on the cards. You try to construct the right combination of buildings to maximize points. It has a role selection mechanic similar to Puerto Rico. It's not as complex as Puerto Rico, but I actually find myself wanting to play San Juan more often. I think its because Puerto Rico is much harder to set up and mange during play. With San Juan, you just shuffle, deal, and play. However, San Juan only plays up to 4, whereas Puerto Rico will play 5.

And if you don't mind a little bit of confrontation (but its not terribly aggressive confrontation) give Hansa Teutonica a good look. This plays 3 to 5 (it says 2, but the 2 player version aint so great). Definitely watch a video on this one before tackling the rules yourself. The rules are not that complicated, they are just poorly written.


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Kathleen Nugent
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Through the Desert or Powerboats, though I've listed these without knowing if they're in print today.

Great but simple strategy in both of these.

Also Thurn and Taxis, Kingsburg, and Lords of Vegas. I like games that are easy and quick to teach to new, somewhat reluctant players.

I have a cousin with a very poor self-image. She believes she's not smart enough to pick up a new game I start to teach. I like to make my explanations five minutes or less - makes her think it's an easy game if we can get started playing almost immediately. And she, despite her poor opinion of herself, is very smart and catches on by her second turn. All the above games can be taught quickly.

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Kenny VenOsdel
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Homesteaders is great for 2-4. If you want a space/tableau building game with easier iconography Eminent Domain plays best with 3.
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Ian O'Toole
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Go for Agricola, it's great from two up to five. Plus there's TONS of replayability in the box.
 
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Kai Pietila
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I'll second the recommendation of Galaxy Trucker. Agricola is awesome, but tends to take over 2 hours in my experience. I'm still a rookie, so maybe I get more than average analysis paralysis and veteran players get through a game faster.
 
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Aidan Mirisola-Sullivan
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Just wanted to say thanks everyone! I'll start doing some research on these titles. Right off the bat:

Jem: Ad Astra looks great! Time to read the rulebook. cool

David: I was lucky enough to purchase a copy of Taluva during its initial print run. From a game design perspective, I think it's one of the most elegant games that I own. Too bad its in not-so-great condition. I'll bring it, along with Finca, to our next session.

Indigopotter and Kai: As far as Galaxy Trucker goes, do you think it's too chaotic/stressful to the point of being frustrating to potentially sensitive players? I love the idea of it.

Jordan: I've played Ninjato twice (2p) and *love* it, and I agree that it doesn't get the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, I already own Stone Age, and while not as interesting thematically, I feel that the two aren't mechanically different enough to justify another 50 bones for Ninjato.

David: My Facebook cover photo is a beautiful picture of the Tobago board that I found here on BGG (credit is given to the photographer). I'll do some more research on that and Notre Dame.

Kathleen: The mechanics of Through the Desert look kinda of dry to me, but I'll definitely check out your other recs. Is Kingsburg quite similar to Alien Frontiers?

Kenny: I own EmDo! I was kind of disappointed with it with 2 players (I feel it plays much too quickly to reward any sort of planning), but maybe 3 is the sweet spot. Beautiful components, too.

Do you all think the weight of Agricola is too much for non-gamers? Keep in mind, my friends enjoy games - and they're fast learners - but certainly they don't enjoy them in the same capacity we do.

Thanks again,

Aidan robot
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Mike Fox
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Carcassonne
Citadels
Condottiere
Kingdoms
Iliad
Camelot Legends
Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age
Midgard
Lords of Waterdeep
The Dwarf King (because drinking necessitates at least one trick-taking game )
Chronicle (another trick taker)
 
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ErikPeter Walker
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If you already own and enjoy Race For The Galaxy, just pull it out and teach it. The 'iconography' in Alien Frontiers is harder to understand.

A lot of good recommendations in this thread so far. Blindfold, darts, see want you get.
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Aidan Mirisola-Sullivan
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But ErikPeter, what is BGG for if not to fuel our addiction to consume board games that we don't even remotely need!

(The iconography in AF is very intuitive, whereas I found RftG to be more complex in terms of learning curve.)
 
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Laura Creighton
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Taluva is back in print, just so people know.

Agricola is a game that most people start out doing very poorly and have to learn to play better. Plus there are many errors that are unrecoverable. If your family starved after the second harvest, you have lost the game, and still have more than an hour left to play. Now, some people then immediately think -- wow, I am going to take the rule book and study it, so I can play better. I cannot wait to try this again. Other people _don't_, and file this one under games where playing feels too much like work. And other people file the game under games where the scoring rules are far too arbitrary. I think that if Alien Frontiers is about as heavy as you want, then Agricola is too heavy. Try reading the rules www.zmangames.com/boardgames/files/agricola/Agricola_Rules.p... and see what you think.

Kingsburg is a lot like AF without the space theme.

After you try Finca, see if they liked the Rondel. If they liked it, you might consider Navegador. RoboRalley can be a lot of fun, especially if after 2 beers some of you have problems remembering which is left and which is right. It's not so hot with 2 players. And, of course, if shooting each other with lasers is too much direct conflict, then this will not be a good idea.

If they really like worker placement games, I would try Fresco for 3 or 4. It is not so good with 2. Glen More, which plays 2-5 or Last Will are other good choices.

If, instead, you want something different from AF, which has your WP needs covered, The Princes of Florence, which has a little bit of tile laying and Hansa Teutonica aren't particularly heavy while still being a lot of fun. If they are too heavy, then Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries is lighter, and very good with 2 or 3. It's only for 2 and 3, though.

I'd try Glory to Rome -- which isn't as good with 2 and Innovation. Many people dislike Innovation for being too crazy with 4 people, but other people, myself included prefer it this way.

I suppose this is enough for now.

Best of luck! Happy gaming.
 
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Aidan Mirisola-Sullivan
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Quick update: just so everyone knows, playing 2-5 is very much a tertiary bonus. What's most important is that the game plays very well with 3, and meets most of the other criteria.

Thanks again, everyone. It's so great to spend a night researching games and not encounter a single elf.

-Aidan

Edit: I also own Innovation, and while I enjoyed it with two, I think it might be too much of a mindf*ck with three, especially while drinking. Unless we get really adept with the rules, and then I think playing Innovation drunk would be hysterical.
 
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Kenny VenOsdel
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3 is definitely the sweet spot for EmDo. With 4 I find it ends a bit too soon and with 2 I find that you get too many turns, though the overall game length is still short. The 3-player extended game is perfect IMO.

If you want an overlooked game that you can get for cheap Tower of Babel is a great 3 player area majority/set collection game from Knizia. The theme is building the 7 wonders of the world but it's not very strong. There is tons of interaction as it is essentially a game of extortion. It's one of those where you need to utilize other players in order to achieve. Also it's far from solitaire with no direct screwage.
 
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Josh Bodah
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There's always Dominion. I think it works better as a filler unless you have crap tons of expansions though

Agricola is very good

Innovation is easier than RftG too but has a similar feel
 
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Chris Schumann
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Core Worlds is not a game that internalizes easily. I've played a handful of times, and have not been able to have other discussions without a lot of disruption or delay of the game. There is down time if you don't care what others are doing, but you should care. I'd not recommend it, at least not yet.

Dominion does meet a lot of your requirements, but stay away from Alchemy if the magical theme falls into fantasy for you. Alchemy is widely regarded as the worst expansion in any case.

I was going to recommend Cosmic Encounter, but it is ALL ABOUT direct conflict, which I rather like.

When it comes out, Heroes of Metro City might be a good one to look at too.
 
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Quote:
Indigopotter and Kai: As far as Galaxy Trucker goes, do you think it's too chaotic/stressful to the point of being frustrating to potentially sensitive players? I love the idea of it.


Well, a beautifully made ship could certainly get blown to bits. You have to be ready to laugh at your 4 little cargo bays floating home. If having a ship blown apart would upset someone, this probably isn't the game for them.
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Laura Creighton
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mammothbaby wrote:

Edit: I also own Innovation, and while I enjoyed it with two, I think it might be too much of a mindf*ck with three, especially while drinking. Unless we get really adept with the rules, and then I think playing Innovation drunk would be hysterical.


It is.
 
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Aaron Morgan
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kvenosdel wrote:
3 is definitely the sweet spot for EmDo. With 4 I find it ends a bit too soon and with 2 I find that you get too many turns, though the overall game length is still short. The 3-player extended game is perfect IMO.


I concur. EmDo with three players is great!
 
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Christopher Mayer
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Well, here's the obligatory plug for my game: The Galaxy Corporate

It seems to fit your requirements and while it's not exactly designed for 5, I don't see why you can't add a fifth player. It should play just fine. In fact, it scales rather well to an obscene amount of players - it'll just take forever to play.

The game is a free print and play - so it's "free," but you'll have to put it together yourself.

That said, I really can't add any other games to the ones already listed. They're all great suggestions.
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Alison Mandible
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As I was reading your criteria, I was thinking "Man, I know I'm always way too eager to recommend Vlaada games, but it seems like Galaxy Trucker would be perfect for this group." And then there it was on your list! So yeah, Galaxy Trucker.

(You'd need The Big Expansion or the upcoming Anniversary Edition in order to seat 5, though.)

It's very solitaire-y in its feel, but relative position/strength matters a lot more than in some other multiplayer solitaire games -- you never want to burn batteries without looking at opponents' ships to see if it's worth bothering.

And the adventure round (where you see how badly your ship breaks) has some gameplay decisions but is relatively low-pressure. Beers and crosstalk are no problem.
 
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Clinton Sattler
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Lets try something from left field

Louis XIV
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