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Subject: New to Boardgames, looking for recommendations rss

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Jeff C
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Hi all,

I recently joined the board game scene, and I am looking at expanding my game library. I thought I’d pick the brains of fellow gamers to see what I should purchase next. Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated.

A little about myself:

I’ve been a gamer for most of my life. PC games have always been a passion of mine, and as I’ve gotten older, I am starting to enjoy more social games. This is when I got into tabletop miniature gaming (Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000). Recently (within the past 4 months) I got hooked on my first board game, The Settlers of Catan, and I recently purchased Puerto Rico, another fantastic game. Board games have been around for decades, and I am a little overwhelmed by the shear number of titles out there, so I would like to get a few personal recommendations from you!

A little about my gaming group:

The group consists of 3-6 friends I’ve met throughout the years. Many dating back Jr. High and High School, and some I met through online games and tabletop games. The gaming group is very sophisticated and nearly all of them have over 10+ years of gaming experience, but my girlfriend is new to the gaming scene (but she did enjoy playing both Settlers of Catan and Puerto Rico). Everyone is highly educated, and we are all quick learners. A few players are fairly competitive, so a little of conflict is good.

Game qualities I am looking for:

1. Non spectator sport – I am looking for a game that is challenging and competitive, but doesn’t "eliminate" anyone from the game. Personally, there is nothing more frustrating than getting eliminated early, and having to wait around for the game to reset/restart. snore

I guess I should also include games that snowball or landslide into this category. Snowballing is fine, as long as the game actually concludes relatively quickly. Games that drag on for hours even though the outcome was obvious 10 minutes into the game can get infuriating and boring!

2. Less is more – Approximately 45-120 minutes per game is ideal. We all work. None of us have time for marathon gaming sessions.

3. Depth – As I’ve mentioned earlier, this is a fairly sophisticated gaming group. We are not afraid of a complicated game, as long as the rules make sense.

4. Six shooter: 6-player games are ideal, but 5-player games would work as well.

5. Randomness & Luck: Although we all enjoy a little bit of luck now and then, but a game that is designed entirely around luck isn’t particularly fun. No dice fest please.

6. Replayability – The game needs to be replayable without giving us the "been there done that" feel. Each game should feel dynamic, and games that have a single dominant strategy or exploitable rules need not apply.


Games I already own:

The Settlers of Catan
Puerto Rico


Games I’m thinking about getting:

Caylus
San Juan
Betrayal at the House on the Hill
Shadows over Camelot
Power Grid
RoboRally


I am interested in the following games, but they all seem pretty similar. Which of these games would you recommend for our gaming group?

Railroad Tycoon VS Age of Steam VS Ticket to Ride

Descent: Journey in the Dark VS Runebound VS World of Warcraft


Any input would be greatly appreciated. I know it's tough to make a good recommendation with such little information, but I would prefer a slightly more elaborate explanation as to why you made your recommendation other than "I own it, I play it, I like it" Thanks in advance!
 
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Brian Morris
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I'd go with Caylus as my top choice for your group.

San Juan: very good card game but if you have Puerto Rico you might want to go for something a bit more disimilar.

Betrayal at the House on the Hill: It's ok but even with all the rule fixes it's still not a top game by any means.

Shadows over Camelot: Card game on steroids. Fun the first few times but for me it faded quickly.

Power Grid: I'd go with Caylus over this but this wouldn't be a bad choice.

RoboRally: I'm not a big fan of this game. It's fun but not stellar in my mind.

A few I might suggest if I may would be Ra, Primordial Soup, Louis XIV or Citadels. These are games in that general type that you seem to like that are rather popular.
 
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Denise Lavely
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Hi Jeff! Welcome to the 'geek!!

It sounds like you are looking for games that are at least as 'heavy' as Puerto Rico, so that is what I've skewed my suggestions to. However, you may want to get a few lighter games too, both have a place in a good game collection. There are times when you just don't have the time/energy/brainpower for a brainburner but still want to get in a good game. Here are my suggestions -

- Caylus is an excellent game, I have not played it yet with more than two players tho. It does have a 'screw your neighbor' element that may or may not appeal, and will probably take longer than 2 hours to play if you play with 6 people. Figure on about 30 minutes per person for Caylus, once you've learned the rules. Also it plays very well, although rather differently, with the different numbers of people, which is rare - most games have a 'sweet spot' in the number of players that make for the best game.

- San Juan is Puerto Rico Lite, if you already have PR and are looking for something with that level of complexity or higher, you'll be disappointed in San Juan. Also, San Juan doesn't play with more than 4. If you are looking for a light, short game to play when there are just one or two other people around, this might fill the bill.

- Betrayal at House on the Hill - from what I understand there are a LOT of rules fixes that need to be done before the game can even be played. Also, it probably does not have the depth you are looking for. Might work as a light game if you are willing to seek out and apply the rules fixes. Would play well with 6.

- Shadows over Camelot can work well as a lighter game, probably does not have the depth and replayability that you seem to be seeking. Still, if your friends are Monty Python fans, this would be great as a lighter game. Would play well with 6.

- Power Grid would be my top choice for you. This is a heavy, 'brain burning' game that plays beautifully with 6. There is a small luck element, most of whether you are going to win or lose depends on how well you can do the math and keep an eye on your opponents. One of my favorites. However, if you think you would often be playing with less than 4 people, go with Caylus instead, Power Grid is only so-so with 3 and downright dull with 2.

- Roborally I have not played, so sorry, no comments.


In addition you might want to look into El Grande. It is currently out of print but should come back into print in the next couple of months. It is a classic area control game that plays with up to 5, but it plays very well with five.


As far as Age of Steam - Railroad Tycoon - Ticket to Ride - Age of Steam and Railroad Tycoon are very similar brainburners, RT is basically a dressed up, slightly simplified, (very slightly, it's still a fairly heavy game) version of AoS. Ticket to Ride is a different game completely, much MUCH lighter and more of a 'family game' than a 'brainburner'. AoS and RT however are quite long and won't meet your 120 minute max requirement unless your group plays REALLY fast. TtR plays in an hour or less.

Hope that helps!!
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Hello,

Powewrgrid would be my choice. Simple to gasp but excellent and exciting gameplay with beutiful componets.
It is really accasible and a none luck driven game (no dice).
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well you seem to have come to the right place!

The six-person group is a slight issue. Not that many eurogames play with 6. I might be tempted to look out some good 3 player games and split into two groups for some sessions. On those lines:

Euphrat and Tigris is a great 3 player game (also plays 2 or 4). As complex as Puerto Rico, and more direct confrontation.

Java is also a great 3 player game (also plays 2 or 4), lots of thinking and messing with other people's plans. One issue I have heard mentioned is 'Analysis Paralysis'- where people take ages to plan moves. However, my group doesn't have this problem, so I guess it depends what sort of gamers you have. Also in the Java genre are Tikal, Mexica and Torres- I haven't tried Mexica, but Tikal and Torres are decent games (though not as good as Java)!

What about those occasions where you have 5 people?

I suggest Amun Re, an auction game set in Ancient Egypt which shines with 5 (it isn't bad with less, but 5 is better).

Ok, how about the full 6 players?
Well as I said this is a bit of an issue...the best 6 player game for me is Mare Nostrum. However, you do need to buy the Mythology: Expansion in order to play it with 6. I think it is worth it, but you might not...
 
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Werner Bär
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Power Grid: Among your selection, it sounds like this is the game for your group. Quite heavy (but not compplicated), up to 6 players.

Caylus: 5 players, might be a bit too long (30 minutes per player with fast players). Otherwise might fits well.

San Juan: 4 players only , fast game, good filler.

Shadows over Camelot: Quite light. Up to 7 players, but much easier with more players. Some like it, some hate it. Butter test it before you buy.

Railroad Tycoon VS Age of Steam VS Ticket to Ride: I think age of steam would be best for you, but might be too long. Railroad tychon is more 'family friendly'.
Ticket to ride is a nice short game, very unlike the other two. Max 5 players.

 
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nate ben-porat
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jeffc wrote:
Hi all,

I recently joined the board game scene, and I am looking at expanding my game library. I thought I’d pick the brains of fellow gamers to see what I should purchase next. Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated.

A little about myself:

I’ve been a gamer for most of my life. PC games have always been a passion of mine, and as I’ve gotten older, I am starting to enjoy more social games. This is when I got into tabletop miniature gaming (Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000). Recently (within the past 4 months) I got hooked on my first board game, The Settlers of Catan, and I recently purchased Puerto Rico, another fantastic game. Board games have been around for decades, and I am a little overwhelmed by the shear number of titles out there, so I would like to get a few personal recommendations from you!

A little about my gaming group:

The group consists of 3-6 friends I’ve met throughout the years. Many dating back Jr. High and High School, and some I met through online games and tabletop games. The gaming group is very sophisticated and nearly all of them have over 10+ years of gaming experience, but my girlfriend is new to the gaming scene (but she did enjoy playing both Settlers of Catan and Puerto Rico). Everyone is highly educated, and we are all quick learners. A few players are fairly competitive, so a little of conflict is good.

Game qualities I am looking for:

1. Non spectator sport – I am looking for a game that is challenging and competitive, but doesn’t "eliminate" anyone from the game. Personally, there is nothing more frustrating than getting eliminated early, and having to wait around for the game to reset/restart. snore

I guess I should also include games that snowball or landslide into this category. Snowballing is fine, as long as the game actually concludes relatively quickly. Games that drag on for hours even though the outcome was obvious 10 minutes into the game can get infuriating and boring!

2. Less is more – Approximately 45-120 minutes per game is ideal. We all work. None of us have time for marathon gaming sessions.

3. Depth – As I’ve mentioned earlier, this is a fairly sophisticated gaming group. We are not afraid of a complicated game, as long as the rules make sense.

4. Six shooter: 6-player games are ideal, but 5-player games would work as well.

5. Randomness & Luck: Although we all enjoy a little bit of luck now and then, but a game that is designed entirely around luck isn’t particularly fun. No dice fest please.

6. Replayability – The game needs to be replayable without giving us the "been there done that" feel. Each game should feel dynamic, and games that have a single dominant strategy or exploitable rules need not apply.


Games I already own:

The Settlers of Catan
Puerto Rico


Games I’m thinking about getting:

Caylus
San Juan
Betrayal at the House on the Hill
Shadows over Camelot
Power Grid
RoboRally


I am interested in the following games, but they all seem pretty similar. Which of these games would you recommend for our gaming group?

Railroad Tycoon VS Age of Steam VS Ticket to Ride

Descent: Journey in the Dark VS Runebound VS World of Warcraft


Any input would be greatly appreciated. I know it's tough to make a good recommendation with such little information, but I would prefer a slightly more elaborate explanation as to why you made your recommendation other than "I own it, I play it, I like it" Thanks in advance!


it is not the best advice but i think it will fine.... you can play carcassone with the tactical way.... nice game that nenver take more then an hour nad a half. the game is medium light but require thinking. it isn't heavy as the games you showed below... Betrayal at the House on the Hill requires luck when pulling cards and when i watched demo in PC it seemed quite boring, still you might like it.

nate
 
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Brian Thomas
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Hi Jeff! Welcome to BGG.
I am also a PC gamer-crossover, and can definitely relate to where you are. I'm curious as to what kind of PC games you have liked - a Quake player will probably have very different tastes than a Civ-addict.

For me, I love turn based strategy games (Civ, Alpha Centauri, MOO2, etc.) and I think Power Grid captures some of the feel of this type of game. I'm not saying it plays the same - it doesn't - but upgrading your plants and expanding your network feels kind of like your typical 4X game, which is why I like it so much. It also plays really well with 6.

If you're more of a first person shooter player, then you might want to look more at the dungeon romp type games. Based on your criteria, I'd recommend Descent from your choices (less downtime and plays faster). Another game perfect for the FPS player is Duel of Ages, which would probably be a big hit with your group, based on what you said. You would probably want to kick start it with the extra equipment variant so you can keep it to 2 hours.

And, if you like RTS, then you might want to look at some of the more combat oriented games. Wallenstein is a must have, if you can get a copy of it (it's being rethemed and reprinted as Shogun this year, if you can wait). Blood Feud in NY, Vinci, and A Game of Thrones (make sure you get the expansion too) all involve building up your base and conquering, although they are each very different games.

Hope this helps. Happy gaming!
 
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Matthew Fisk
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Welcome to the Geek Jeff :)

Let me add my own comments and suggestions if I may.

Six player games are more difficult to find (trust me - I look for them myself due to the dynamics of one of my groups) and a game that I think qualifies well for your group would be Alhambra. The first expansion also helps support the extra weight of the players with adding the Viziers favor. However you can easily go read the rules for that "plug in" and use some other object rather than purchasing the expansion itself if you want.

Shadows over Camelot works with six players but the game gets easier with the more of them that you have I have noted. So you may quickly tire of that game if you play six a lot as you won't see much of a challenge. However with the right people the traitor aspect of it can be a DANG lot of fun. We play with 5 players quite often and really enjoy it - however I have noted that my group seems to be a minority rather than a majority.

Caylus is IMHO simply an awesome game. However it does not qualify under your time table and does not support six players. But on those nights that only five people show up it can be a real brain burner with all the options. I am big Puerto Rico fan and this one rivals it in my book.

On those nights that four are available I concur with others that Tigris and Euphrates would be a good game. I also think that Reef Encounter would qualify for your group as well.

Hope some of those suggestions help.

Matthew
 
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Nick Witchey
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Comsic Encounters is a great six player game where multiple people can actually win. It also has a lot of player interaction.

It may be tough to get a decent copy though. The Mayfair and Eon editions are long out of print.
 
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First, welcome to the hobby, and to Boardgamegeek!

I've played all of the games on your list except Descent, Runbound, and WoW. I'll take each one by one:

Caylus seems like a great choice to me, except for the length, which cna regularly go over two hours. But it doesn't usually feel that long, and is quite a bit of fun. It reminds me of Puerto Rico, except for the fact that it is totally different. I feel like I am exercising the same gaming muscles when I play it, without the overanalysis which makes Puerto Rico less fun for some groups. It seems very replayable to me.

San Juan only plays up to four. I never really enjoyed it much.

I thought that Betrayal at House on the Hill was dreadful. If you want something like that, I hear Arkham Horror is better, although I've never tried it myself.

I enjoy Shadows Over Camelot a great deal. There are numerous reasons people will give for why it is not a good game, and they are generally all correct. It doesn't seem to matter though, because when I am playing the game--I'm always having fun, despite the fact that there may be very few interesting decisisons to make. Frankly, I can't understand what I see in it, but I still recommend it.

Power Grid is great, and sounds like the game your list describes.

I hated Roborally, but I played only the original version on too many maps. I found it too long, too tedious, and not at all fun. The new version may be better, but I doubt it would be better enough for me to recommend it over the other excellent choices you have made.

As for the rail game, first of all, Ticket to Ride does not resemble the other two games even a tiny bit, so I'll consider it separately. Railroad Tycoon is based on Age of Steam, so of course they are similar. There is quite a bit of debate over which is better. I strongly prefer Age of Steam, and I recommend it. Railroad Tycoon simply does not have the depth of Age of Steam, or, I suspect, the replayability. one of the great things about Age of Steam are the expansion maps, most of which are still available; they are not merely new maps; they also make subtle rules tweaks, which can completely change the flavor of the game. Age of Steam may now be my favorite game. Railroad Tycoon has some advantages--it is more forgiving of mistakes, has slightly simpler rules, and has more luck (in the form of cards), which some people prefer. It also has a HUGE map--some people like that, but I consider it to be a big negative. It also has very nice plastic pieces, if you like that. Both games have the potential to run over 2 hours, but in my experience, Railroad Tycoon is the game that will feel as if it is running long.

Ticket to Ride is another of my favorite games. It seem deceptively simple, and can be played that way, but allows for a surprising degree of strategy. It does, however, only play up to five, and has a great deal of luck in the card draw. It doesn't feel like a dice-fest to me, but some people seem to think it is all luck. Ticket to Ride Europe may have slightly less luck than the original, since you distribute the longest routes at the beginning of the game.

I hope you find this useful. Let us know what you decide!
 
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Of the ones on your list I would say Power Grid and Age of Steam best meet your list. They both are six player games, with little luck and are not super long marathon games. Both are deep games.

San Juan is only 4 player.

Betrayal at the House on the Hill -- has a lot of luck and some rule issues. This is a good game for a light filler, or something to play with non-gamer friends who aren't looking to play something serious and like the theme.

Ticket to Ride is more of a lighter family game than the above mentioned games.

Descent: Journey in the Dark VS Runebound VS World of Warcraft
: All of those games probably push your listed time requirement. I have not played Descent or WoW but I think they all have dice rolling and a stronger luck element than the other games. Some people just love these games that are almost a cross between RPGs/minatures/board games. But based on your requirements I would guess they are not the best fit with your listed time or luck qualities.
 
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Jeff Lee
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Caylus Great game; must buy

Power Grid Another great game; should buy

World of Warcraft Very good game, although some folks don't like it.
If you like roleplaying games, then you should understand how to build a charcter. Buy if you have the budget for it.

Age of Steam One of my faves.


Other recommendations:

China

Maharaja

El Grande

The Traders of Genoa

The Princes of Florance



 
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Jeff C
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Wow, woke up this morning (traveling at the moment) and expect to find a recommendation or two, but didn’t expect the profusion of responses already! I would like to thank everyone for your thorough explanations of your recommendations. They have been invaluable in my decision making process.

A few clarifications:

“45-120 minutes per game is ideal”

This is the timeframe I am aiming for, and it is meant to be a simple guideline. No stopwatches, alarm clocks, or kitchen timers will be used during our gaming sessions.

“6-player games are ideal”

Six-players is the maximum. I’d prefer not to have players sit out in the event everybody makes it to our gaming night.

Initial impressions:

From what I’ve read so far, it seems like Caylus is definitely on the “must have” list. Numerous people have given it some wonderful praises. I’m also quite intrigued by Power Grid, initially the game title didn’t appeal to me, but it sounds like one of BGG’s favorites. I’ll definitely have to move it higher onto my list.

Age of Steam is also starting to sound better and better, while Betrayal and Camelot are quickly sliding down my list. Being a PC game aficionado, I’m still drawn towards Railroad Tycoon, and the fact that RRT is “pretty to look at” makes it appealing as well.

So here is my current purchasing order (maybe I'll try to sqeeze it all into one order laugh ):

Caylus
Power Grid
Age of Steam

I’ve not read too much about some of the games mentioned, including:

Duel of Ages
The Prince of Florence
Tigris & Euphrates
El Grande
Cosmic Encounters

Anyone have a recommendation for a decent combat based game, war game or battle game? What exactly constitutes a "fantasy flight game"? They seem interesting... Thanks again for all the excellent input! Keep it coming!
 
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Jeff C
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bwt2q wrote:
I'm curious as to what kind of PC games you have liked - a Quake player will probably have very different tastes than a Civ-addict.


I played anything and everything. RTS, FPS, RPG, MMO, You've named a few of my favorites, including: Civ, Master of Orion (MOO), Heroes of Might and Magic, Half Life: CounterStrike, Quake: Team Fortress, Warlords, Total Annihilation, Fallout, and Warcraft series.

bwt2q wrote:
Another game perfect for the FPS player is Duel of Ages, which would probably be a big hit with your group, based on what you said.


I am really curious about Duel of Ages, but I can only find reviews for the expansions, but not the game set? What type of game is it? What makes it one of your favorite? I found the official web site, it kind of looks like a card game? I'm reading the rules, heh. Looks interesting.

Any games out there that's similar to the old school Battletech or Silent Death?

Thanks again for everyone's input!
 
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Andrew H
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Tigris and Euphrates: excellent 2-4 player 60-90 min game which will be a new challenge every time. Includes conflict.
Medici: so streamlined it seems simple but strategy has to be adapted to the other players and some luck of the order of the draw. The purest auction game I know. 3-6 players 45-60 min. Screw the opponent is present to a degree.
Samurai: easy to learn plenty of strategy and so quick. 30-45 min 2-4 players. definitely conflict between players.
Tikal: Almost no luck, a decent amount of srategy some down time though if players are slow to take a turn. 2-4 players 90-120 min
Lowenherz: may be a game your group really likes. 2-4 players i think, 60-90 min conflict variable strategies little down time. Domaine is a slightly simpler version that I think lost the best part of the original but it will be easier to get.
Louis XIV: a real brain strain to try to keep track of so many possibilities and strategies. You may love it. For me I'm still deciding if it is just too much.
Verrater and Meuterer: good portable strategic card games that really are boardgames. Conflict and screw the opponent. 45-60 min 2-4 players




Avoid Betrayal at the house on the hill and to a lesser extent shadows over camelot (or anything else by days of wonder) as perhaps too simple. BatHotH is tedious and SoC is a glorified game of rummy with a turn limit.
 
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Can't speak about most of the games you mentioned, but i think you have to chose between long games with good rules or light one with some down aspects. So i propose a face off between...

In the left corner, using a red box, from 3 to 6 players, rules that have more patches, service packs than windows (Bill, you are an amateur) we have Betrayal at the House on the Hill:
Game qualities:
1: Could happen, but games are quick...
2: On spot 45 to 120 minutes (house rules included)...
3: Forget... Rules are simple and buggy, most of the time we make house rules (even the site update as some bugs)...
4: 6 players, and it works, everyone plays...
5: Well, some dice, and some luck, but the game is mainly cooperation.
6: Replayability, and that it's the good thing about this game, 50 haunts, a house that everytime is diferent and the traitor changes, played a lot and it's stills as new thing's.

In the right corner, using a dark box, from 1 to 8 players, rules buletprof (the few patchs they speak are about cases that happen one in a million)we have Arkham Horror:
Game qualities:
1: No way... when one die, the other will follow soon...
2: It ranks for 180 min here, never played less than 240 min...
3: Well done everithing nice, when we played for the 10 time we almost get it...
4: 1-8, less than 4 is suicide...
5: Some dice, nothing so bad that you notice.
6: Some, if you use random characteres.

The winner? I don't know... i just love play then both...
 
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Philip Thomas
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Fantasy Flight Games is a board game company specialising in Fantasy board games, from dungeon crawls like Descent to Multiplayer Wargames like A Game of Thrones.

 
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Jeff C
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I ordered Power Grid and thought I'd give Duel of Ages a shot. I can't seem to find Caylus though (Online and locally). Is it out of print? cry
 
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Philip Thomas
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It is being reprinted now. Should hit the USA in March, I guess.
 
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