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Subject: The "best" next medium weight card game rss

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Alessandro Maggi
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I'll say in advance that lately I've been generally avoiding buying games I haven't tried first. In my small experience it "just" happened three times that I traded away games that I bought and ended up disliking (although to be fair I own a game I can't trade because is a gift - but I'd want to - and another one that I can't sell because gets played - although I don't really like it that much), but it happens more often that I acquire games I do end up liking but wouldn't probably pay the full price if I had knew what the game felt like after playing it.

But... right now I'm backtracking to my "old roots" as a card gamer, and I would appreciate some feedback on what could be a (small) set of good options to consider for "buy before you try" for you. My interest is mainly focused on medium-weight card games, short length (about 45 mins tops), fast play, high interaction, easy/fast setup/teardown and possibly not overpriced. No 2p-only games, it would be ideal if they supported up to 5 players but I can accept also 3-4p ranges.
Theme is a bit of a concern, as some gamers in my group dislike euro-style themes or too abstract themes. Some of them are also picky on artwork. At the end of the day though, the game must meet my taste before theirs, and I'm less picky although I do enjoy nice artwork.

Some recent games I had my eyes on but couldn't manage to try out yet:
1) Seasons (very expensive budget-wise, probably longer than I'd like, too much like a boardgame than a card game maybe?)
2) Fleet (seems half interactive half solitary to me, I can't evaluate the amount of depth and replayability, theme and cubes could make a couple of guys in my group "uncomfortable")
3) Guildhall (a bit more expensive than I'd like, I like the concept of merging set collection with card abilities although some abilities are so screwy and wild I'm asking myself if the game could be too wildly swingy and luck-dependant, also judging only form the images on BGG I really don't like the artwork and card design)
4) Glory to Rome (maybe more on the heavier and lengthier side of game, I'm a bit worried about the "wild" nature of unbalanced building powers that are supposed to be balanced out by each other)
5) Uchronia (I've read it's very similar to GtR but more balanced, less interactive, lighter and prettier... the Italian version of GtR has nice artwork so I'm not worried by the looks of it, but do I want a less interactive game?)

Another game I'd like to get is Love Letter, but unfortunately I haven't managed to track any shop here that has it (will probably work on a rethemed set to try it out before it gets restocked).

I've also backed for a digital copy of the huge set of new and old games from Small Box Games: I like John's designs, but my friends don't.

On the trick-taking side of things I was interested in trying Die Säulen der Erde: das Kartenspiel (recently published in my country in Italian), Chronicle (although I'm pretty sure none of my friends would approve the artwork) and The Dwarf King (although this one feels a bit too random with quest tiles for scoring and such). In general though, half of my friends don't like trick-taking games, so these are more side-options.

For further suggestions, I'd like to point out that I don't want more deckbuilding games. Notice that I generally dislike the highest ranked card games here (own Dominion, but I don't like to play it other than digitally, own 7 Wonders but I don't really mind). The only deckbuilders I like to play are Arcana and Nightfall.
I also hate cardgames like BANG!, Saboteur and Munchkin and don't enjoy social card-games like Werewolf and The Resistance.
I've also taken into account other role-selection games (I own Libertalia, I like it but I'm not in love with it) like San Juan and Race for the Galaxy, but I'm not sure they would fit the bill as far as interaction is concerned (I prefer direct interaction or very strong indirect interaction).

My favourite non-conventional card game I own is Citadels. My favourite 2p card games are Summoner Wars and Warhammer: Invasion, but I also like most abstract Knizia's card games (Lost Cities, Battle Line and Money! come to mind).

I'm sure that if you've read this post up to this point you'll be dead-tired of my gaming taste's description, so I'll cut it here.

Any suggestion or further thoughts on this matter will be much appreciated. If you like (especially if you "love") or if you dislike (especially if you "hate") any game on this list of possible purchases, leaving even a one-line reason will be very appreciated.

Thanks to everyone!
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Stewart Pilling
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I would recommend Palastgeflüster by Adlung-Spiele. As another possible option maybe Coup a new Essen release, not dissimilar to Love Letter.
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Martin G
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Hi Alessandro. It sounds like we have very similar taste in card games, so you might want to check out my game ratings and comments.

If it wasn't for the 45-minute cut-off, I would highly recommend Pax Porfiriana. It's a very interactive tableau-building game with a non-Euro theme and it's best with 3 or 4, but it will take more like 60-90 minutes.

Palastgefluster above is a good suggestion and I would also add another Adlung-Spiele game, Meuterer. I'm pretty sure this would work for you. It's best with 4, cheap, interactive and has a similar role-selection mechanic to Citadels.

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Clinton Sattler
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Perhaps consider Innovation. Very high on interaction, and although I think it is best with two, four can be fun if using partnerships.
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J Valnor
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Biblios, fits on all categories, but may be a tad light for 3-4p?

Saga, again maybe too light, but there is certainly strategy in there somewhere, I just have not yet found it.

Witch's Brew goes to 5(6 with expansion) again.... light.... Well more like it is hard to successfully plan. You can certainly have a complex strategy that goes up in smoke in an instant.

oddball rec.Organic Soup, fits all the bills, except is not good.
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Christian Morasse
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ZephonSoul wrote:

1) Seasons (very expensive budget-wise, probably longer than I'd like, too much like a boardgame than a card game maybe?)


Seasons is really a card game! There's some dice mechanics involved but it's all about building your "tableau".

My wife and I really enjoy this game and it takes about 40-50 minutes for 2p once you know the rules.

You can check some video reviews here to see if the other parts (dice and energy tokens) are too much of a distraction to your taste.

It's a really good card game disguised as a board game. The art is superb and the dice are yummy
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Martin G
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ContainerJones wrote:
Perhaps consider Innovation. Very high on interaction, and although I think it is best with two, four can be fun if using partnerships.

Yeah, the only reason I didn't recommend it was that I like it best as a 2p only game.
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Moe45673
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Glory to Rome is a great game but can take long, especially first games. Use the variants on BGG to make it more "balanced" when learning it. For experienced players, the game is balanced out of the box.

I'll also throw in my two cents for Lords of Scotland which is in the ballpark of a cardgame played with a regular deck of cards, only it has the added quirk that the cards have powers.

Finally, if you don't mind playing in semi-dependent teams (rulebook has 4 player team variant included), Innovation works great with 4 players. I don't like playing in teams (in pretty much any board/cardgame), but if I did I'd be pulling out Innovation for 4 player sessions
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Alessandro Maggi
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Thanks everyone for the feedback!
darkskies wrote:
I would recommend Palastgeflüster by Adlung-Spiele. As another possible option maybe Coup a new Essen release, not dissimilar to Love Letter.

Thanks Stewart, I knew about Coup but didn't really know anything about Palastgeflüster (or the Adlung-Spiele lineup for that matter). Oddly enough while reading rules and reviews it kinda felt "distantly" similar to Guildhall. Thanks for the tip, it is indeed an extremely inexpensive game that fits all the bills on paper!

qwertymartin wrote:
Hi Alessandro. It sounds like we have very similar taste in card games, so you might want to check out my game ratings and comments.

If it wasn't for the 45-minute cut-off, I would highly recommend Pax Porfiriana. It's a very interactive tableau-building game with a non-Euro theme and it's best with 3 or 4, but it will take more like 60-90 minutes.

Palastgefluster above is a good suggestion and I would also add another Adlung-Spiele game, Meuterer. I'm pretty sure this would work for you. It's best with 4, cheap, interactive and has a similar role-selection mechanic to Citadels.

Thanks Martin, as I said earlier Stewart's post made me dig into Adlung-Spiele and their card games, making me discover Meuterer (and you excellent review, instantly thumbed! ). Both games are sold at 6€ in the online store I usually buy from, so they could easily fit in a bigger purchase as "bill-filler" for free shipping!

I've put the 45' barrier just because we have a couple of overly-slow players that have the marvellous superpower of injecting eyerolling downtime in every possible game. Some games remain fun up to a certain playtime (btw, Citadels is one of them), but otherwise can result in frustration for normal/fast players. If the time on the box states that a normal group can finish a game in 45 minutes, I can estimate 60-75 minutes with my group as reasonable.
Nevertheless I will check Pax Porfiriana too, thanks.

ContainerJones wrote:
Perhaps consider Innovation. Very high on interaction, and although I think it is best with two, four can be fun if using partnerships.

Innovation with partnerships sounds new to me. Is there an official ruleset to play it this way? Up until know I've been told by all the people who have played it to absolutely avoid it with more than 3 players.

sumsnu wrote:
Biblios, fits on all categories, but may be a tad light for 3-4p?

Saga, again maybe too light, but there is certainly strategy in there somewhere, I just have not yet found it.

Witch's Brew goes to 5(6 with expansion) again.... light.... Well more like it is hard to successfully plan. You can certainly have a complex strategy that goes up in smoke in an instant.

Thanks for the suggestions. I've been looking into Biblios, but I'm not sure my group would support it. This is also one of the reasons I usually play Knizia's games on the iPad or with my gf, because the rest of my group isn't much interested in smart and "lean" games, they prefer tense and in-your-face experiences with fancy themes. I like 'em both, so Biblios could still fit my own personal bill.
I've also read about Witch's Brew before, and while it sounds interesting it's kind of hard to find. Also I'm not really searching actively for something "like" Citadels, au contraire, I think that for now I'm pretty done with role-selection card games (if I want to play one, Citadels and Libertalia are my go-to games right now).

ContainerJones wrote:
oddball rec.Organic Soup, fits all the bills, except is not good.

lol, this one was funny!

Nuzferatu wrote:
Seasons is really a card game! There's some dice mechanics involved but it's all about building your "tableau".

My wife and I really enjoy this game and it takes about 40-50 minutes for 2p once you know the rules.

You can check some video reviews here to see if the other parts (dice and energy tokens) are too much of a distraction to your taste.

It's a really good card game disguised as a board game. The art is superb and the dice are yummy

Hi Christian, I've seen many video reviews and even tried the game on BGA, but I still haven't managed to try it out in real-life. My problem with the game is not about the components (btw, I love boardgames, I'm totally the opposite of a card game elitist! ), but the potential length of the game and downtime with 4 players (also knowing how slow some friends of mine can be). The price is also a huge barrier, as I prefer to spend that kind of money on something I really like instead of something I "could" like.

Moe45673 wrote:
Glory to Rome is a great game but can take long, especially first games. Use the variants on BGG to make it more "balanced" when learning it. For experienced players, the game is balanced out of the box.

I'll also throw in my two cents for Lords of Scotland which is in the ballpark of a cardgame played with a regular deck of cards, only it has the added quirk that the cards have powers.

Finally, if you don't mind playing in semi-dependent teams (rulebook has 4 player team variant included), Innovation works great with 4 players. I don't like playing in teams (in pretty much any board/cardgame), but if I did I'd be pulling out Innovation for 4 player sessions

Thanks Moshe, I'm replying in a big comment as answers come out, so I know have confirmation of the existence of a 4p official team variant of Innovation, good to know! I know a friend of mine who owns Innovation, next time I see him I will ask him to have a game so that I can evaluate it.

Thanks for mentioning Lords of Scotland, will check it out. I'm eager to try GtR, but I fear that some friends of mine could make each turn drag way too much.
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Sue Hemberger

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Boomtown -- it ain't over, til it's over, which keeps everybody engaged. Theme works really well. Highly interactive. First game might take more than 45 minutes, but it'll be quicker after that even with an AP-prone playmate or two. Works well with 3-5 and actually plays faster with more (although, as per the rules, you can/should remove some cards if you're playing with three and want to speed the game up).
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Tomello Visello
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ZephonSoul wrote:
My interest is mainly focused on medium-weight card games, short length (about 45 mins tops), fast play, high interaction, easy/fast setup/teardown and possibly not overpriced. No 2p-only games, it would be ideal if they supported up to 5 players but I can accept also 3-4p ranges.

I'd like to encourage you to take a look at Traders of Osaka, but I am also aware it has become difficult to find.

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Martin G
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Some great recommendations here. I thoroughly recommend Traders of Carthage and Lords of Scotland.
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Laura Creighton
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Love Letter -- the AEG verison -- won't be released until next week. This is why you cannot find it. It is a light game, not a medium weight game. Buy it anyway! I think it is the best game of 2012 -- vastly better than so many other light games, and I hope it can be in the running for BGG awards next year. (It's not like US horse racing, where all foals are 1 year old on January 1, regardless of actual borth day, even the ones that arrived early on Dec 31, owned by somebody who wanted to max the maturity, and now has a foal who is both 1 year and 1 days old? -- or is it?)
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Ben Pinchback
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Eminent Domain

Imagine if Race for the Galaxy had a kid with Glory to Rome and Dominion. Wait.... Anyway. This game has similar things to all of the above but wraps it up in a very nice and easy to teach package. It's a real winner from 2 to 4 players from what I have seen.
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Alessandro Maggi
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smithhemb wrote:
Boomtown -- it ain't over, til it's over, which keeps everybody engaged. Theme works really well. Highly interactive. First game might take more than 45 minutes, but it'll be quicker after that even with an AP-prone playmate or two. Works well with 3-5 and actually plays faster with more (although, as per the rules, you can/should remove some cards if you're playing with three and want to speed the game up).

Thanks Sue, didn't know about this one neither. We've got some Bruno's fans here, so I will definitely check it out!

TVis wrote:
I'd like to encourage you to take a look at Traders of Osaka, but I am also aware it has become difficult to find.

I've read something about it before, dismissed for the reason you mentioned. Nevertheless I will read more and keep my eyes on for any used copy passing through the block. Thanks for your suggestion!

lacreighton wrote:
Love Letter -- the AEG verison -- won't be released until next week. This is why you cannot find it. It is a light game, not a medium weight game. Buy it anyway! I think it is the best game of 2012 -- vastly better than so many other light games, and I hope it can be in the running for BGG awards next year. (It's not like US horse racing, where all foals are 1 year old on January 1, regardless of actual borth day, even the ones that arrived early on Dec 31, owned by somebody who wanted to max the maturity, and now has a foal who is both 1 year and 1 days old? -- or is it?)

Good to know Laura, thanks for sharing this bit of information!
I know it is a light game, but I'm more than willing to buy a light and fast card game for the right price, especially if it is as fun as reviewers say!
I surely hope it can qualify for the next BGG awards! After all, I thought that a game that doesn't qualify for the current year is reasonably qualified for the following one, or at least that would be how things should work in my book!

bno70_1 wrote:
Eminent Domain

Imagine if Race for the Galaxy had a kid with Glory to Rome and Dominion. Wait.... Anyway. This game has similar things to all of the above but wraps it up in a very nice and easy to teach package. It's a real winner from 2 to 4 players from what I have seen.

Thanks a lot for the suggestion Ben! Well, I guess I can't discuss with you about your game, that would be hardly a fair-play!
I've looked into EmDo before, but despite my interest I'm afraid I would never be able to convince any of the friends I usually play with to try it because of the Sci-Fi theme. A handful of them can live with the theme when the game is good, but most of them can't, dunno why.
I'd like to give it a try no matter what, as I've been intrigued by it for a long time now!
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Matt Riddle
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Seasons is tough and longish with 4 IMO but a good two player game.

I hear fleet is awesome ninja

Seriously though, what about Innovation? Its a bit crazy but goodad the 4 player is teamish.

Another vote for lords of scotland. It's a 20min game and a good one
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Ben Pinchback
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ZephonSoul wrote:
Thanks a lot for the suggestion Ben! Well, I guess I can't discuss with you about your game, that would be hardly a fair-play! I've looked into EmDo before, but despite my interest I'm afraid I would never be able to convince any of the friends I usually play with to try it because of the Sci-Fi theme. A handful of them can live with the theme when the game is good, but most of them can't, dunno why. I'd like to give it a try no matter what, as I've been intrigued by it for a long time now!

True Allesandro, I can't objectively tell you if Fleet is good or not. Because clearly it's fantastic! cool For real though, I can say that "Medium Weight" does sum it up very well. Your play group sounds interesting if it's offended both by space theme AND by little blue cubes and fish! LOL.
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Josh Bodah
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If you like Citadels I think you'd love Love Letter or Coup. Love Letter looks fantastic, but I'm on the edge with it because I feel it will get old (although for ~$7 how can you go wrong). Coup I haven't played yet, but I'm really looking forward to it

Glory to Rome is heavier than the games you've played, but it's really not that bad (although I learned Race for the Galaxy and Innovation before which made most of the mechanics second nature). I haven't played it yet, but the quality of the cards way below my standards (although Cambridge Games has incredible customer support!)

I really love Innovation and Race for the Galaxy.

Race is harder to learn and teach, but I feel it is more interesting due to the random draw. Personally, I find the racing concept (game ends either by first person playing 12 cards or VP pool runs out) is great for interaction and the simultaneous action selection is very interesting since everyone else gets to take the action you choose.

Innovation is really fun and pretty brutal. I found it a bit of a challenge to introduce to non-gamers since there is so much text on the cards and the strategies and combos can be a little mind-bending. It's unlike any game I own because of the evolution of the sheer strength of particular strategies (ex. a Castle strategy is really strong early game, but as the ages progress cards like Gunpowder directly counter Castles crippling them)

Season feels A LOT like a CCG. I've only played it once and didn't really care for it. I might give it another chance when the price drops.
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Alessandro Maggi
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riddlen wrote:
Seasons is tough and longish with 4 IMO but a good two player game.

I now know that, seems like my GF wanted to surprise me and bought it for me yesterday! It's truly long with 4, I don't think experience will shorten it by much, I still think I would need a shorter and faster game.

riddlen wrote:
I hear fleet is awesome ninja

Laughed so hard after this one Matt! I want to try Fleet so badly... cool

riddlen wrote:
Seriously though, what about Innovation? Its a bit crazy but goodad the 4 player is teamish.

Another vote for lords of scotland. It's a 20min game and a good one

I've been sitting next two players playing Innovation in a pub, one is a friend of mine who owns the game. He thinks the game is very good with 2, the other guy hated it (with 2, he tried it only that way, two games total), and most of the other people around who played it were very upset with the game. I think it's a polarizing title, and one that should be tried before buying it.
I'm counting in your vote on it though!

bno70_1 wrote:
True Allesandro, I can't objectively tell you if Fleet is good or not. Because clearly it's fantastic! cool For real though, I can say that "Medium Weight" does sum it up very well. Your play group sounds interesting if it's offended both by space theme AND by little blue cubes and fish! LOL.

It is obviously fantastic, that's why I want to try it! Unfortunately here is difficult enough to buy, let alone finding someone who has it willing to make me try it! I went to a local convention the past week where they advertised Fleet as a game in the library people could try, but for some reasons it didn't reach the place... I was so upset! angry

My play group is large, we are about 7 people when it's all of us, plus additional "friends of friends" who join when we gather in pubs and such. As a large group it's difficult to find something that everyone is OK with. The only games that somehow make everyone happy enough are Citadels and 7 Wonders. I've got one friend who hates any theme that isn't standard euro-fare, loves cubes and wooden bits but hates plastic and miniatures; another guy is a card-gamer who refuses to play anything that isn't card driven (he admits he want to have cards that drive his decisions, otherwise he gets frustrated by too many options) and requires fantasy-ish themes to enjoy games; two other people (brothers) who enjoy chaos, backstabbing, dicerolling, Poker, Munchkin, Bang!, King of Tokyo and generally want games with in-your-face situations. So, to sum it up, we have one guy who hates cubes (the card gamer), two guys (the brothers) who generally don't care but usually don't like them, while only one guy (other than me) enjoys sci-fi themes (the brothers don't care but don't support neither, the rest of the group hates it).

Kind of hard impossible to make everyone happy! shake

hiimjosh wrote:
If you like Citadels I think you'd love Love Letter or Coup. Love Letter looks fantastic, but I'm on the edge with it because I feel it will get old (although for ~$7 how can you go wrong). Coup I haven't played yet, but I'm really looking forward to it

Glory to Rome is heavier than the games you've played, but it's really not that bad (although I learned Race for the Galaxy and Innovation before which made most of the mechanics second nature). I haven't played it yet, but the quality of the cards way below my standards (although Cambridge Games has incredible customer support!)

I really love Innovation and Race for the Galaxy.

Race is harder to learn and teach, but I feel it is more interesting due to the random draw. Personally, I find the racing concept (game ends either by first person playing 12 cards or VP pool runs out) is great for interaction and the simultaneous action selection is very interesting since everyone else gets to take the action you choose.

Innovation is really fun and pretty brutal. I found it a bit of a challenge to introduce to non-gamers since there is so much text on the cards and the strategies and combos can be a little mind-bending. It's unlike any game I own because of the evolution of the sheer strength of particular strategies (ex. a Castle strategy is really strong early game, but as the ages progress cards like Gunpowder directly counter Castles crippling them)

Season feels A LOT like a CCG. I've only played it once and didn't really care for it. I might give it another chance when the price drops.

Thanks Josh. I would get Love Letter and take the risk of wasting a couple of euros, not big of a deal.
GtR is heavier than the rest, I know. I just don't know if it will be my cup of tea. Guess I'll have to try it out and see. No problem on card quality here, in Italy we have the game published in a HUGE box (I mean, close to big-box size) with 7W-like card size and prettier artwork (although less practical in terms of gameplay).

I like to play RftG against the keldon AI, I'm not sure I would like the game in person. I made the same mistake with Dominion, I'm trying to avoid doing that again. Also as I said I have a couple of pals in my group who wouldn't even try a game set in space.
I want to try Innovation, I really do. I've received many suggestions for it in its team format. I didn't even think of it before this thread, as I thought the consensus was pretty established that it was only playable in two.

Having finally been able to try Seasons I wouldn't really compare it to CCGs, not even with the feeling. I can't say how I feel about it, I've done just two games with beginners setup (the first without the draft, the second with the draft but without advanced cards).
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Steve Evans
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I was going to second Eminent Domain but I guess you're not really into that. I wouldn't worry about the theme if that's what puting you off, it's not really a sci-fi game, we've replaced out plastic ships with wooden cubes because honestly they weren't needed.
It's interactive which is what you were looking for. I'd say that it ticked every box on your wishlist.

Fleet is mediocre at best and should be avoided... Just kidding, it's a nice game. It might not be interactive or in your face throughout which you seem to enjoy. There are times when you're bidding on certain cards but generally not, but I have to say that for a game which could be described as multiplayer solitaire, it doesn't suffer from down time, nice little game.

Rattus Cartus is one we've picked up lately. I've only managed to get a few games of it in but I'm impressed and I think that in a big group it would be even better. Actually this might fit better than EmDo if I'm honest.
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David Dawson
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Android: Netrunner hits on all the points you said were important to you , except that it's only two player. If you DO find yourself looking for a two player game in the future, I highly suggest you check it out.
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Ben Pinchback
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Count me as another yes vote for 2 and 3 player Innovation. It's a slick game with tons of tactics and combos. BUT, know that some of the powers etc can lead to tremendous swings in momentum and in victory. I wasn't bothered, but some people might not like that.
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Alessandro Maggi
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Jester Wales wrote:
I was going to second Eminent Domain but I guess you're not really into that. I wouldn't worry about the theme if that's what puting you off, it's not really a sci-fi game, we've replaced out plastic ships with wooden cubes because honestly they weren't needed.
It's interactive which is what you were looking for. I'd say that it ticked every box on your wishlist.

Fleet is mediocre at best and should be avoided... Just kidding, it's a nice game. It might not be interactive or in your face throughout which you seem to enjoy. There are times when you're bidding on certain cards but generally not, but I have to say that for a game which could be described as multiplayer solitaire, it doesn't suffer from down time, nice little game.

Rattus Cartus is one we've picked up lately. I've only managed to get a few games of it in but I'm impressed and I think that in a big group it would be even better. Actually this might fit better than EmDo if I'm honest.

I like sci-fi, I'm not necessarily into in-your-face games, I was just trying to weight in all the tastes of the people in my group. I've been keeping an eye on EmDo for a while now, but since I'm not sure my group would respond positively to it I've been waiting to find someone who had it and was willing to give it a spin with us so that I could evaluate it directly.

I will have to check Rattus Cartus, usually I skip games that seem to be bigger games squeezed into cards (not that I don't like them, but I usually prefer the bigger, longer and deeper originals), thanks for pointing that out.

dawson_osu wrote:
Android: Netrunner hits on all the points you said were important to you , except that it's only two player. If you DO find yourself looking for a two player game in the future, I highly suggest you check it out.

Hi David, I've been soooo tempted to get it! As a computer engineer and IT freak I physically "salivate" while reading Netrunner's terminology! I'm totally into the setting, and maybe I could convince one or two guys in my group to play it, so at some point I could try and get it.

bno70_1 wrote:
Count me as another yes vote for 2 and 3 player Innovation. It's a slick game with tons of tactics and combos. BUT, know that some of the powers etc can lead to tremendous swings in momentum and in victory. I wasn't bothered, but some people might not like that.

Someone may, yes, that's my point. I definitely have to try it out to see if I could be among them.
 
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