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Subject: It's been a year since my last purchase. Help! rss

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Mat Nowak
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I need a recommendation on what game to acquire next, and where to get it as well.

Last year before new years, I was shopping in Mic Mac Mall (This is Nova Scotia, Canada), and by chance, there happened to be a vendor set up in the middle of the mall hallway, selling calendars and board games. Having always had a strong liking to board games, but never having any eurogames, I decided to check it out. Lo and behold, Settlers of Catan! I immediately snatched up the only copy, having heard great things about it here at BGG.

My whole family has thoroughly enjoyed Settlers and we always play it whenever we have a board game night. However, it's been over a year now, and even though the rest of my family is not sick of it, I am longing for a change. Don't get me wrong - I love SoC, but you shouldn't feed yourself the same thing constantly.

So, I am looking for recommendations. Getting four players is not a difficult task for my family + friends - in fact, often times there are 5 or 6 of us, and as a result, someone usually sits out. It would be a good idea if I could pick up a game that played 5 or 6, but would still be playable at 3 or 4.

The following are some games that I have an interest in and my thoughts about each one. Maybe someone could pin point which one would be the best.

Puerto Rico: It is number 1 afterall, so it must be great. However, I have heard some say that it's basically a group of people playing solitaire, making decisions that affect what you can do on your own board - this does not sound very appealing to me, and if this is the case, I don't know whether my group will enjoy it. We love interaction. How about the difficulty of the rules, or teaching them? I'm the geek in my group, so I would be the person explaining everything.

Caylus: A lot of people seem to enjoy this, and from reading about it, it does sound interesting. I like how many say that there is little luck involved - unlike Settlers, and I like the theme. The one thing that scares me about it though is the difficulty. Would it be hard to understand and teach? I don't want to take too big a jump after Settlers and overwhelm the rest of the group.

Carcassonne: I've also heard good things about this, and that it is simple to play and teach, but personally I just don't see the appeal. This doesn't interest me that much for some reason.. Maybe it is the simplicity, or something else. (I know it's not the Meeples - they are pretty cute! meeple ) However, I'm going to keep an open mind about this.

Ticket to Ride: This one also seems to be a family favourite at BGG, but to me it does seem a little bland, and prone to luck. So you basically get some cards that tell you what cities to connect, and that's what you set out to do, cutting other people off in the process? Maybe I haven't read everything about it, but it doesn't seem like much of a strategy game. Please enlighten me though. Like I said before, I'm willing to change my mind with a little more info.

Power Grid: I don't really know that much about this one, but I have heard good things.

Primordial Soup: This looks like it could be really fun to play.

That's all I can remember at the moment. Feel free to recommend any on or off this list - anything will do. Just remember the following criteria:

- Preferrably plays with 5 or 6 players.
- Less luck driven than Settlers.
- Good player-player interaction.
- A lot of replayability! (We may be playing it until next year..)
- Needs to be bought online.

Also, keep in mind that since Nova Scotia does not have any FLGs, I will have to make an order online. Where should I order from?

I know this is a lot to ask, but I'm in desperate need of help. I have never ordered any board games online, so this will be my first experience. I don't want to end up buying from some unreputable place unknowingly, or paying too much. Heheh.

Thank you!
 
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Peter Marchlewitz
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Those are all nice choices that you've listed. Anyone would be great. I guess it depends on the complexity level that you are willing to accept into your gaming group as some of those are heavier than others.
By the way...a very good online Canadian company to deal with for you to consider is http://germangames.com/

I have dealt with them many times and they are very reliable.

 
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For what it's worth, I would definitely not categorize PR as multiplayer solitaire and in fact, such a thought would have never even entered my mind had I not frequented boardgame geek. Also, I love Puerto Rico and didn't have too much difficulty grasping the rules and gameplay despite being a newcomer to the hobby who, at the time, had only played Ticket to Ride, Settlers and Carcassonne.
 
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Eric
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Out of your recommandation, we tried only 2 of those (I don't have Settlers as a reference), so I can give you our feeling about those :

Carcassonne: Without the Inns and Cathedrals expansion, you can play only up to 5 players. The Inns and Cathedrals includes meeples for a 6th player, a big meeple for each players as well as additionnal tiles and rules for the new tiles and big meeples. Here, it's our familly's favorite. Our boys loves to build the city (for the very young) and the older likes the strategy of where you place your tiles and meeples. So far it's been the best game we have in our collection. Adding the Inns and Cathedrals to the game makes the game a bit harder, but also a bit more fun. I've been told that the Traders and Builders also gives another dimention to Carcassonne, you may want to try it out too.

Ticket To Ride (Europe): I bought it at the same time as Carcassonne, at the end of last year (meaning last week!). This one can only be played up to 5 players. Our familly hasn't picked up on this one, as our older son is only 8 years old. He's probably the only one of our kids that could play this game. We still have to have a second game with this one. It's a bit more difficult than Carcassonne and requires a bit more strategy too (as well as some luck, just as Carcassonne).

Hope this helps. As for an online store, you may try the "Valet d'Coeur" at http://www.levalet.com/ it's based in Montreal, so you won't have to pay for custom and they do carry most of the games.
 
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Daniel Rocchi
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I'll second germangames.com. I have dwelt with them a number of times, and have found their service exceptional. Also, for ordering in canada, their shipping is quite reasonable, if you are ordering multiple games.

As for your choices, if your family has been playing Settlers happily for a year, I think any of the above choices would be a good next step. As much as I like it, I think Ticket to Ride would be a strategic step down. It is a much simpler game.
 
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Roger Boykin
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The following are my opinions...

Puerto Rico, almost no luck (except plantation tiles), handles 5, nice rulebook. Solid. Does not feel like solitaire to me. You are constantly trying to outship/trade or get a particular building before your opponent, giving it an interactive feel.

The rulebook of Power Grid might give you trouble (based upon second-hand knowledge) but it is the only one on your list to handle 6 players and is a fine/fun game. Luck factors in primarily during Power Plant appearance.

I think Caylus might be too large a jump from Settlers. I can see newer players being overwhelmed by all those choices. Don't get me wrong, I expect Caylus to be a favorite, but one that you work up towards.

(Without the expansion) Primordial Soup handles only 4....and has a whole lotta luck. With the expansion, I think it would take too long (second hand).

Carcassonne...I wouldn't wish a whole year of Carc on an enemy. I hate scoring those farmers.

Ticket to Ride...very luck dependent IMO. Not enough meat on these bones to play for an entire year.

In short, I would buy Puerto Rico right now. I would attempt to download the rules of Power Grid and see if you can understand them. If so, that would be a good second choice. If they like Puerto Rico, you might consider Caylus down the road.

 
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Mike Kollross
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Quote:
It's been a year since my last purchase.


Nurse, get this man a game sale, STAT!

Have you played Cities and Knights? It totally changes Settlers and adds a great level of difficulty.

I would also third/fourth PR. Does not feel like solitaire to me and always leaves me wanting to play more.
 
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james napoli
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Puerto Rico, for the mere $25_ish this game is well worth price. Everyone in our group enjoys it, and we're all more gamer than not. I think this game has interaction, and since most of the player actions either affect someone else, or allow others players to take the same action...the downtime is almost non-existent. It's a medium weight game that seems a bit overwhelming at first...but once everyone learns the roles it plays EXTREMELY well.

Carcassonne, another good game, i didnt warm up to it right away...and i think it is a little on the light side at first glance, but with experienced players this is actually a very good time. This one would depend on your group and i think it plays better with less people.

Ticket to Ride, this is one of the bgg ratings i just don't agree with. It's def a family friendly game and likely good for kids, but as a gamer this one just doesnt do it for me. U are right in your description i think, u simple get cards and based on that you play trains, u dont get the cards u need b4 someone else does that will typically decide the game. The other gripe i have about it, is that everyone is so tense and focused on counting the routes and checking their cards there is little to NO interaction and one of the few games we play where no-one really talks.

The others you have listed, i have not yet played. Some other games our group really enjoys are: samurai good game that scales well, through the desert similar to ttr but more strategy as u have more choices to make, and one of our favorites is shadows over camelot it's a co-op game that depends on how theme oriented your group is.

enjoy
 
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Goo
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Puerto Rico: It is not difficult and it is a good step up from Settlers of Catan. There is no corelation, but I find players transition well from Settlers to PR. It certainly is a great game, but I wouldn't say the best. You have to play for yourself to see. I don't feel that it is multi-player solitaire because your decisions are affecting others' and vice versa. My only complaint is that, usually, on my turn my decision is obvious. Which role you select, which building you buy, etc. is usually straight forward once you know the game. It only plays up to 5, though. All that said, you can't go wrong here.

Caylus: I'll let you know after I get my copy.

Carcassonne: Carcassonne has about the depth of Settlers, as in: not all that much. It's a totally different game, but it is somehow a similar gaming experience to me. I played this a bit when I only had a few games. Now that I have quite a few games, I never get this game out anymore. It's just kinda ho-hum for me. The original set feels incomplete without at least the first 2 expansions, so plan on getting those right away (they also make it playable by 6). If you are looking for depth or more intensity, this is not the answer. There are lots who love this game, though.

Ticket to Ride: It is not a deep strategy game. Again, like Settlers and Carcassonne, this is a relatively simple family game. It is fun, and plays better with more players, but again, this is not a step "up" from what you have. It's more of a lateral move.

Power Grid: This is a good game. Here is where you will get more depth that what you have. There are auctions, resource management, and making/blocking connections. There is a learning curve, but if everyone is on the curve together, it should go fine (it's really only a problem when experienced players play with beginners). It's a gorgeous game--aesthetically one of the favorites in my collection. For as great of a game as this is, I feel it has a clunky endgame, especially the 2 player version. At the end of the day, this is a great game and you would probably be very happy with it.


Basically, Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride would be lateral moves for you. About the same intesity as Settlers with that same lite-fun feel. If you want to step it up a bit and get deeper games with more strategy and a bit more intense experience, look at your Puerto Rico and Power Grid choices.

A few other favorites of mine (which you may or may not gel with) to consider are Ra or Modern Art (they are both auction games, so no need to get both right away--though they are very different and well-deserving room on anyone's game shelf), Tikal, and Tigris & Euphrates (the latter feels a bit dry at first, but once you know it the charm and possibilities really open up to you).

Mostly, though, all your choices are good. You've done your homework. Just start trying all these games and you'll stumble onto what you really like.


-goo
 
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Goo
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Actually, you were hoping for playability by 5-6. Ra and Modern Art play up to 5. Tikal and Tigris & Euphrates both play only up to 4. Power Grid and Carcassonne (with the Inns and Cathedrals expansion) are your only 6 player options based on what you listed.


-goo
 
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Drew Holmes
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Princes of Florence would be a good option, though it will play only up to five. The auction assures player interaction and luck has very little to do with the outcome. Add in the multiple paths to victory and this one is a winner. IMHO, of course
 
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Karl Deckard
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I've played (and own) all of these games, except for Primordial Soup. Based on your comments and my knowledge of the games, I would rank them in the following order:

Power Grid would be my top pick. It really is a brilliant design with mechanics that match the theme perfectly. There are quite a few rules exceptions, which may or may not make the first practice game a little clunky, but it is worth the effort. The art/graphic design is beautiful, the bits are great, it plays with up to 6, and the replayability factor is high (especially since it has a two-sided map and another two-sided expansion is now available).

Puerto Rico is also a potential pick. In my opinion, the "multiplayer solitaire" issue is present, but not a deal-breaker. Each player has their own little collection of goodies, but all players compete for the items to fill their collections. It is also a brilliant design that ranks in my top ten games of all time. I have found both of these first two titles to be very addictive.

El Grande, while not on your list, would also be worth a look. Check the game page for details.

Carcassonne really is a good game and it's pretty popular with most people that I have taught. It's very replayable, especially with expansions, and it's relatively inexpensive.

Ticket to Ride is a good, light game for the whole family, but it sounds like you're not too hot on it.

Caylus may be too much of a jump in complexity from Settlers. There are a ton of tiles that players must choose between each turn and each has its own function. Great game, but it might not be ideal for your current goals.

In summary, try one of the top three for a meaty game or one of the next two for a lighter game and maybe steer clear of Caylus for now.

Have fun!
 
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Uffe
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You can try Carcassonne (among many other games) online at http://www.brettspielwelt.de (with a client or web applet). I suggest beginning with the basic game without the expansions the first time.

Puerto Rico and Power Grid can be played on Brettspielwelt as well but I think that it would be better to have first hand experience with them before online play.
 
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David Tolin
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darlok wrote:
Ticket to Ride, this is one of the bgg ratings i just don't agree with. It's def a family friendly game and likely good for kids, but as a gamer this one just doesnt do it for me. U are right in your description i think, u simple get cards and based on that you play trains, u dont get the cards u need b4 someone else does that will typically decide the game. The other gripe i have about it, is that everyone is so tense and focused on counting the routes and checking their cards there is little to NO interaction and one of the few games we play where no-one really talks.


Yikes! I don't think I'd like to play this game in your group, either! TtR is a pure beer and pretzels type game, and the table talk, laughter and conversation during this game is one of the highlights for us. I can't imagine how you could get tense or overly focused on TtR.

 
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Michael Howe
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Since no one has mentioned it yet, I'll recommend Alhambra. Easy enough to learn, interesting light strategy game, playable by anywhere from 2 to 6 players. Should work very well either as a family game or as an all-adult game.
 
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Have faith
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My big question for you is how much "game play weight" will your family enjoy. The games you've listed are all fairly heavy except for Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride.

Here's my two cents on your list. I'll add a second posting about other options.

Mateui wrote:
Puerto Rico: It is number 1 afterall, so it must be great. However, I have heard some say that it's basically a group of people playing solitaire, making decisions that affect what you can do on your own board … We love interaction. How about the difficulty of the rules, or teaching them?

There is interaction in this game, but it's mostly indirect, in the form of how what one player does effects another. There is competition for the best buildings. You can choose to ship out goods, thereby screwing other players who aren't ready for that. You can take a role that another person wanted. Etc. I wouldn't call it multiplayer solitaire.

This is a good game, and a good choice if your group is looking for something that requires more thinking than Settlers.


Mateui wrote:
Caylus: The one thing that scares me about it though is the difficulty. Would it be hard to understand and teach? I don't want to take too big a jump after Settlers and overwhelm the rest of the group.

The rules aren't really that difficult. They're comparable to Puerto Rico, etc. It will take you one game to get the rules down - the first game will probably take at least 3 hours, if you are learning yourself for the first time and also teaching it. It's not so much the complexity of the rules but the complexity of the planning and decision-making that make this a fairly heavy game. Of all the games in your list, I would say this is the most challenging, followed closely by Puerto Rico. I have played this twice so far, both times as 2-player games. It is a very good gamer's game. Not for casual players.

Mateui wrote:
Carcassonne: This doesn't interest me that much for some reason.. Maybe it is the simplicity, or something else.

I consider this game a fairly light diversion. New players usually underestimate the importance of the farmer's fields. It is worth having, and may well appeal to your group, if they want something a little lighter than Settlers.
This game has a lot of luck, since you play the tile you draw each turn. To reduce the luck, let players start with a "hand" of three tiles.

Mateui wrote:
Ticket to Ride: to me it does seem a little bland, and prone to luck. So you basically get some cards that tell you what cities to connect, and that's what you set out to do, cutting other people off in the process? …doesn't seem like much of a strategy game.

There is a fair amount of luck in this game. More luck than I usually care for. However, it is a fun game for people who want something fairly light and don't mind the luck. TTR is a great, great game to introduce non-gamers to the world beyond Monopoly - but your group is already past that. It is not a bland game - there is a lot of tension, trying to get the routes you need before someone else does, should I risk taking another mission card to get more points, etc.
TTR: Europe is a little more challenging - check that one out too.

Mateui wrote:
Power Grid: I don't really know that much about this one, but I have heard good things.

This is a great game, but some may be turned off by the theme. It is more complicated and mentally challenging than Settlers. In particular, the games tend to be close, and to win you really have to carefully budget your resources - a lot of arithmetic, which may turn off some people. I love this game, in spite of the budget calculations.


Mateui wrote:
Primordial Soup: This looks like it could be really fun to play.

I played this once and I really like it. It's different, in theme and mechanics. But I wouldn't get it as your second game after Settlers - it just might not have a much general appeal as other games.
 
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Have faith
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Mateui wrote:

- Preferrably plays with 5 or 6 players.
- Less luck driven than Settlers.
- Good player-player interaction.
- A lot of replayability! (We may be playing it until next year..)


It's harder to find great games for more than 5 players, and IMO the best ones happen to be around 2-5, for some reason. However, here's a run down of some good ones.

The best games that I know of that meet your criteria are:
- Bohnanza (2-7)
- Shadows over Camelot (3 - 7, cooperative game)
Although both these do have some luck.

Also consider the following, although they are for fewer players:
Ra (3-5 players)
Niagara (2-5 players)
Through the Desert (2-5)
Oltremare (2-5)
Amun-Re (3-5 players)
Princes of Florence, The (3-5 players)
St. Petersburg (2-4 players)
Citadels (2 - 7, cutthroat game)
Modern Art (3-5)

Read the comments carefully for each game - people's tastes vary widely.

Alhambra is another great game, IMO, for 2 - 6 playrs. However, it is pretty much multiplayer solitaire, which you said you don't want. It is a favorite of me and my wife and won the Spiel des Jahres too, I believe.

In summary:
My top recommendation overall would be one of the following five, although these are all heavier than Settlers:

- Puerto Rico (the least interaction among these 5)
- Power Grid
- Princes of Florence
- Ra
- Caylus (new game, hard to know it's long term replayability)

 
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Philip Thomas
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Princes of Florence is most often called "Multiplayer Solitaire" and even then, mistakenly IMHO. Play Russian Bank, that is multiplayer solitaire! (We call, it Patience this side of the Atlantic though).
 
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cull wrote:
In summary:
My top recommendation overall would be one of the following five, although these are all heavier than Settlers:

- Puerto Rico (the least interaction among these 5)
- Power Grid
- Princes of Florence
- Ra
- Caylus (new game, hard to know it's long term replayability)

By the way, I think all these are available online, so you can test them out first. I highly recommend that, especially since this may be your only purchase this year. Check out this page:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...

Also here, if you can figure out how to use it and make it work (good luck):
http://www.brettspielwelt.de/gate/jsp/base/index.jsp?nation=...

Ideally, you could find a local game group or friendly game geek who could play these with you.
 
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