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Subject: What is your GO TO game, the ONE game you go back to over and over? rss

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Joey V

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Most of the gamers I know keep buying new games, in the vague hope that it may be the rare ULTIMATE game. Some people have already FOUND their ultimate game... the game you study and obsess over, and play forever and ever. (Magic: The Gathering, 40k, Twilight Struggle, GO, Chess, various tactical wargames) ....

1. What game is your ULTIMATE game? (I'm mostly interested in heavy-theme games, but I'm also curious in general.)

2. What aspect of the game prevents it from getting boring or old to you? The design, varying powers, various paths to victory, lots of expansions, etc...

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Bryan Thunkd
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Florence
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1) Go
2) Immense depth
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Wes Baker
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1. Cosmic Encounter
2. Player interaction first and foremost, but also the variety and combinations of alien powers.
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Alexander McKinney
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1. Agricola
2. The immense replayability granted by the improvements and occupations.
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Anthony Simons
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1. Steam
2. No two games ever work out the same, variety through expansions and a really clever, challenging game.
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Jonathan Madison

Houston
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1) Caylus
2) Tight Gameplay, with a variety of paths to Victory
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Scott Nelson
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Draper
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1) GOA
2) the tech tree is just fun to play with.
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Andrew Young
Wales
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1. Age of Steam
2. Economics, heavy player interaction, variety of situations and plays well with varying number of players if on right maps.

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Victor Caminha
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Rio de Janeiro
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And so it begins...
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1) The Scepter of Zavandor

2) Love variable player powers, auctions, "personal sheets" (you know, game components which enable you keep track of your own progress in a separate sheet).
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You can't handle the truth?
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1. Roads & Boats

2. I have played it about 25 times, and I am still learning.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Long Beach
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For a great two-player game, I usually carry: Innovation
- The game is constantly changing, so you are always thinking
- You don't really have an opening or "canned" strategy, but must adjust to cistumstances as they happen
- Easy to teach and learn
- Portable and can be played anywhere

For a larger game, our go-to game is: Catan
- You have one strategy and everyone knows what it is, and everyone else is trying to do the same thing
- Only your ability to socially manipulate other players really provides you with a distinct edge
- You are constantly trying to predict opponent's activity, determine their bargaining thresholds, and making important risk/benefit decisions.

For even more players, our go-to game is: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
- An engaging sci-fi theme with spaceships, politics, diplomacy, and lots of wacky craziness
- A difficult co-op game where we get to accuse each other of outright lies and betrayal
- ...because they really are liars and traitors!
- The resource system is well-done, and adds a level of hand management, deduction, social manipulation, and tough choices.
- The characters all have interesting quirks and special abilities
- No one is eliminated until the very end (until you start adding expansions, anyway)

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David B
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1) Railways of the World

2) a)It has depth but is still very accessible.
b) With the various maps available, there is a ton of variety.
c) Incredible production and components; the game is just plain
gorgeous.
d) Incredible tension all the way until the end.
e) Very fun to play
f) Mechanics that really match the theme.
g) Players feel like they are really building something.



Honorable mentions: Goa, Macao, and Tigris and Euphrates
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Kelsey Rinella
United States
Rochester
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You got it first try: Magic: the Gathering. There are lots of elements I like which are unique to Magic (for me): the utterly massive card catalog makes deckbuilding more exploratory, the semantics* of the game is often well-done, there are interesting variants for 2-6 players, and the appeal of style is such that one can enjoy losing more easily than is often the case, because there's so much expression in the way one plays. It is not unique in having frequent expansions or in having each game give some feedback about something you've designed, but the player-base is so much greater that it's easier to return to than most everything else with even a few of these features.

EDIT: forgot to explain the *. What I mean by "semantics" is the fit between mechanics and theme. In Magic, this is often given enough thought that there's an answer for a question like, "What does it represent to force someone to discard a card?" It's certainly not perfect, but it's pretty good, and the investment in the game is so great that they're able to attract absurdly talented people to make new cards and adapt the theme appropriately.
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Dan T
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We don't have one ultimate game, but we do have a standard go-to depending on the group:

My family:
1) Tsuro
2) Short and understood by our 5- and 4-year old sons

Just my wife and I:
1) Pandemic
2) Puzzle-like, relatively short, plays well with two people

Small group, strategic-minded:
1) Dominion
2) Very different game every time you play it, mostly resulting from all the expansions

Small group, not strategic-minded
1) Betrayal at House on the Hill
2) Great theme; different game every time due to characters, house layout, and scenario; lots of fun socially (how often do you get to kill your friends? )

Large group:
1) The Resistance
2) Great social hidden identity game with no player elimination.
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B. L.
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1. Summoner Wars
2. So many factions and tons of variety. Easy to teach but still fun to play.
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Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
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Houston
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Small World. Love the theme, love the mechanics, love the replayability.
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Life is a lamp-flame before a wind.
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Thunkd wrote:
1) Go
2) Immense depth


Seconded.
 
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James Pinnion
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Peterborough
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1) Settlers of Catan
2) Player interaction keeps this fresh for me - no matter how good you are you can never relax and assume that you can steamroller the opposition; if they dont trade with you, you aint gunna win.
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Drinky Drinky
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Mr. Cat. Hold on I think I know my next move, just give me another minute....NO!!!!!!!
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1) Ticket to Ride.

2) May not my favorite, but it is my "go to 'the table'" game I can get friends to play. Also if I am feeling lazy, there is minimum setup. No real board setup other than dealing cards.

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p55carroll
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Backgammon

I rarely ever have more than one opponent anyway, and if I have none I can play backgammon on a smartphone or PC. It has just the right chance-skill balance for my taste, and it never ceases to be interesting and exciting. Been playing it since the 1970s, and I'd guess I've played it more than any other game.

Lately I've been on a dominoes kick, but I'm sure I'll bounce back to backgammon.
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Joey V

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I'm amazed how many games being listed that I'm totally unfamiliar with!

Anybody find replay value in 'big box' games like Twilight Imperium? Or pirate games like Merchants & Marauders?

Rex/Dune fans? I know reprints must be awesome for long time fans. Merchant of Venus anyone?
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Richard Herrera
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1) Sentinels of the Multiverse

2) I keep coming back for the following reasons:
a) No game is ever the same even if you use the same heroes/villains/environment combinations.
b) The expansions enhance the core game and don't rewrite it.
c) Every hero, villain and environment is different and co-operation is essential to win vs. everyone for themselves.
d) It is solo-able or can be played with up to 5 players.
e) It is filled with theme, comic book heroes fighting villains.
f) Going back to the expansions, each one feels like a new story arch of a long-running comic book series.
g) The rules are simple and easy to follow.
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David Janik-Jones
Canada
Waterloo
Ontario
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Up Front fan, Cats were once worshipped as gods and they haven't forgotten this, Combat Commander series fan, The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me!, Fields of Fire fan
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1. Up Front
2. 30 years later the challenges and gameplay are a fresh as ever. Immensely replayable, easy to play and teach, best tactical wargame ever made.
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Brent Cote
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Eurorails - one of the games that truly launched my gaming interest 16 years ago. I love how the delivery cards interact to create a unique situation every game.
(And now that I have kids, the crayon aspect "draws" whistle them to it too
 
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Dave
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1. Taj Mahal
2. Great variety of tactical and strategic situations in a single game.
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