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Subject: Some advice for a newbie rss

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Daniel Maycock
United Kingdom
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
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Hi all,

I've recently along with a few friends started to get into boardgames and find myself in the fortunate situation of having a bit of spare cash to spend on a couple of games. I currently own Settlers of Catan and Munchkin while I have a friend with Ticket to Ride and Smallworld.

I'm looking to buy probably two games, one ideally would be reasonably straightforward and play well with two so I can play just with my girlfriend, I'm thinking maybe Carcassonne would be suitable from what I've heard though I 'm unsure about expansions etc - how does it play with just the base game and are any of the expansions must haves? I've also heard good things about Agricola two player so that might be another possiblity.

As for the second game I'm very much open to suggestions, I enjoy Smallworld and noticed that there is Smallworld underground - though I worry that this would be too similar to the original. I've also seen people on here say good things about the Discworld boardgame and as a fan of the book that would also interest me, however I'm often wary of tie-ins since they too often disappoint.
I'm very interested to here what suggestion people in the know would suggest however it should play well with 4, probably not be co-op and be easily available. Feel free to suggest away!
 
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Moe45673
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Agricola is a must-play. Plays well 2-5

Puzzle Strike (Third Edition) (and/or Puzzle Strike Shadows) is a recent favorite. They are Dominion killers, hands down. Also play well 2-4, endless depth, stupid theme but is quickly overlooked if that annoys you.
 
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David B
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Not a lot of in between about Carcassonne. People who like it really like it. But many find it very dull. Personally, I find it very dull.


If you like Catan, another game that uses dice to build is The Castles of Burgundy . I think Castles of Burgundy does a MUCH better job of using the dice because there is always something you can do with the dice, so you don't go turn after turn with bad rolls which you can do nothing with. SOme complain about the component quality, but I do not think the components are as bad as people say. The gameplay more than makes up for it anyway. I did, however, go to office max and get the individual player mats laminated. Another good game that uses dice for gathering resources to build stuff (again better than Catan) is Stone Age. Both of these games are very good to play with just 2 and easily expand up to 4. The above suggestion of Agricola is good, but it is a good step above both the games I suggested. Many have called Stone Age "Agricola light".


Oh yeah...and Castles of Burgundy is relatively inexpensive which is a plus.
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Carcassonne is a good pick. Personally, I think it's most fun with Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals, Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders, and Carcassonne: The River. There are other interesting alternatives in the Carcassonne franchise worth considering. Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers is, in my humble opinion, a better game than the original; for the better or the worse, there are no expansions. I warmly recommend Carcassonne: The Castle as well; only for two players, but as far as I'm concerned, it's quite possibly the best of all the Carcassonne game.

Agricola is a fantastic game which plays perfectly well with two players, but I recommend you to wait buying this game. If you don't have much experience of board games, the rules can be a bit overwhelming.
 
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Geoff Hall
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If you like Discworld and Discworld: Ankh-Morpork intrigues you then go for it. It's a fun game, about the right level for what you seem to be looking for.
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Alec Chapman
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My advice for a newbie is to resist the urge to buy and buy and buy.

If in doubt, try and find a game group o test whether you like the games first, and be realistic about your likelihood of getting them to the table. This way you can be sure to maximise your time and cash's translation into fun times.

On less of a downer, Agricola is definitely good two player - that would be a good choice - especially versus Carcassonne since once you have learned the basic rules, you have some scope to get into the card decks if you want.

Once you hit the wall with Carcassonne, all the ways of getting more decisions and interest involve expansion purchases (and imho only inns and cathedrals is worth the cash if your copy already has the river)

My large group game of choice is the classic Cosmic Encounter, if you enjoy smack talk and unpredictability. Either that or venture into semi co-ops with Shadows Over Camelot, the single most successful large group game I have taught.
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George Parker
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Leinad wrote:
I've also seen people on here say good things about the Discworld boardgame and as a fan of the book that would also interest me, however I'm often wary of tie-ins since they too often disappoint.


If you're a fan of the books, I would expect you to love the game. I find that when I bring it to the table, non-fans really enjoy the game play and the humor. The fans also enjoy the game play, but LOVE the humor on the cards and all the Discworld characters. I recommend it as a BUY for you!
 
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Kent Pritchett
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Agricola is a great game but it is possible your girlfriend may not like it and if not that is quite a chunk of change you just spent. My advice is try the game first with her if possible. If Not then buy the 2 player Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. That way if she likes it you can decide to purchase Agricola at a later time for more players, and if she does not like it you have not spent the money that Agricola would have cost. This is what I did with my wife, she likes both games but if we want a quick play we always play All creatures big and small.
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David Debien
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I second The Castles of Burgundy for the game you can play with the girlfriend. Great thing is it is also a great 3/4 player game you can break out on game nights.

Now, to answer your questions in regards to Carc and SW:

Carcassone, as has been mentioned above, is a love it or leave it game and back in the day when there werent many many other (better) games to be had, Carc got a lot of play in my house. Along came games like Caylus, Puerto Rico and Power Grid and Carc has not hit the table in many years. Long and the short of it: I also find Carc dull beyond measure.

Smallworld, which is another game I find dull and rather pointless, is very similar to SW: Underground. I would not recommend it for anyone less than a completist/fan on Smallworld. Since you are just getting started, I would say variety is key here. And with that in mind, my recommendations for a Smallworld alternate are:

Shogun or Wallenstein (second edition)

or

Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery

or

Tammany Hall





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Chris Geggus
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Dan,

I don't know which part of the U.K. you are situated in, but you might want to try a visit to a local game club. Most of them are both small and welcoming and are often the best way to see and try some new games. That also works out much cheaper than buying a new game straight off and finding that you don't like it and have wasted 30 quid plus.

There are also a few conventions around the U.K. during the year where you may be able to look at a few different games and try those that look interesting. I know the conventions that I organise actively welcome newcomers as you are the players of tomorrow. I am always happy to run through the simpler style of games to get people on board - then they have more options when it comes to actually purchasing shiny bright new games.

Great hobby, but take your time and do indeed rely on some of the older, wiser heads on here.
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Kathleen Nugent
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I strongly agree with Chris: find a local gaming group, visit, play, and then decide. Don't spend your money too quickly.

I disagree, however, with a few of the above opinions about Carcassonne. I think you and your girlfriend will like it. But I do think it's best to play with a couple of the expansions: Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders. I recommend the original version of Carcassonne rather than The Castle, the two player version - I think the artwork is terrible and the play is not as friendly. Neither do I recommend Hunters and Gatherers. The original Carcassonne is the best of the bunch.

I like The Castles of Burgundy very much. It plays well with two, but it's also good with 3 or 4 players.

An inexpensive card game you might want to look at is San Juan.

But find a group first! Don't start buying without figuring out what types of games you and your girlfriend and other friends like best. I made mistakes in some of my earlier purchases. Now I'm much more careful and think a long time before I buy.
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Troy W
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I'll go ahead and offer a piece of advice I've found most useful:

Have a game group ready for anything you buy.

Or just accumulate cardboard.

Get players--not just the gf, because unless she is RABID about games she won't be able to bear the whole burden over time--and figure out what they like. Don't buy anything they won't play. Over time you can cultivate them and shape their tastes. I've done this. But it takes *years*, and sometimes just won't work.

Be aware of venues to trade or even sell your games--the Geek marketplace, eBay, local conventions, etc. Be ruthless about pruning stuff that doesn't get played.

Or you can collect cardboard. This is not meant to be dismissive; buying things and having them can be quite pleasurable. Just don't kid yourself that you're a gamer if they're not getting played. I also advise seeking "grail games" if you're going to buy-and-have. You might as well.

 
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Oliver Kiley
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+1 for Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers - It's a great 2-player (or more) game and, unlike the original, doesn't beg you to throw money at the expansions. It's just a great + solid game on its own.



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GeJayGe
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As far as a game with replayability for you and the girlfriend I cannot stress Race for the Galaxy enough. Though it may not seem like a girl would be that into it, read other forums and you will quickly find that this game is loved by men and women alike. It sets up quickly, plays quickly, and has a great amount of strategic depth without being overwhelming. It does have a bit of a learning curve, but get the first 2 or 3 games in, and you are hooked. Many will tell you they are well past the 100 or 200+ plays with their significant other. This game is a must have in my opinion.

Agricola would be the other go to game. This is a game that is great with 2, and easily scales up to 5. Your girlfriend and you will enjoy many plays, and can accommodate others as well.

Those would be my two suggestions.
 
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Jordan Fraser
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Leinad wrote:

As for the second game I'm very much open to suggestions, I enjoy Smallworld and noticed that there is Smallworld underground - though I worry that this would be too similar to the original.


I wouldn't bother with Underground if your friend already has Smallworld. It has some added complexity, but I feel that actually hurts the smallworld formula a bit.
Perhaps take a look at a different area control game such as Lords of Vegas, Nexus Ops, El Grande, or Chaos in the Old World.
 
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I think the best two player game I've played is Star Trek: Fleet Captains. It's easy to learn and games are always close. The biggest problem would be on theme. I have no idea if you or your girlfriend have any interest in Star Trek. While I think it would be a good enough game if you had no knowledge of Trek, being a fan or at least knowing about it, would make it much better.
 
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Ian Moffett
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The UK games expo is on 24/25/26 May in Birmingham, maybe worth a trip if you're near there? Excellent event. Went a few years ago. Loads going on.
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Geoff Hall
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Mezmorki wrote:
+1 for Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers - It's a great 2-player (or more) game and, unlike the original, doesn't beg you to throw money at the expansions. It's just a great + solid game on its own.


I completely agree with this by the way.
 
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Rob Compton
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Hi Daniel.
Lots of options available for games to try. Based upon games my wife and I learnt I would recommend Arkham Horror & Stone Age.
Having said that, i'd have to agree with other comments, in that finding a local gaming group and trying before you buy is the best option.
There is such a variety of game mechanics for both competitive and co-operative games, its very difficult to know what to suggest and everyone's tastes are different.
Welcome to the hobby, its a blast!
 
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Hardy
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Carcassone might be a good idea. I suggets you try basic game first, and look for expansions later if you like it.

others games good for two:

Lost Cities light card game

Ta Yü putting tiles on board

Antike Duellum really great 2p-game, but this is more complex and strategic.

for 4 players:

Condottiereis a nice game for 2-6 players. not too heavy.

a bit more complex is Egizia (2-4)
 
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Daniel Maycock
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Thanks for all the advice. Interesting that there is such a difference in opinion about Carcassonne! Still not sure what I will go for but definitely have some more ideas.

Guess I should probably look into what gaming groups there are in the area - can anyone recommend a good one in NE England - preferably Newcastle?
 
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Jeremy Fridy
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Try out what you can, a lot of it comes down to feel. I love most rail games, but don't like Ticket to Ride.

I would go for Forbidden Island It's a co-op, easy to pick up, not too long, and actually quite cheap. An all around good addition. Also it's not a brutally hard as it's Typhoid Mary sister, Pandemic
 
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Troy W
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Leinad wrote:
Thanks for all the advice. Interesting that there is such a difference in opinion about Carcassonne! Still not sure what I will go for but definitely have some more ideas.

Guess I should probably look into what gaming groups there are in the area - can anyone recommend a good one in NE England - preferably Newcastle?


See this post: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/11683523#11683523

I'd also contact the geek who posted it--looks like he can set you up. Let us know how it goes!
 
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M M
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One piece of advice without doing specific recommendations...

Something that goes a little underappreciated sometimes is accessibility to theme. People who play tons of games vary on how much it matters to them. But a lot of the most popular games are really loved because how they work, not so much how they look or feel. When someone is getting introduced to games or are on the fence whether or not it's something they're interested in, accessing the theme is pretty important. And that's one of the strengths of games like Ticket to Ride or Settlers of Catan or Carcassone. It's an accessible theme with a fairly straight-forward board and a straight-forward objective. It's something that someone who isn't really into games can get into.

So as you decide, I would pick something either with a fairly general theme or something with a theme that you know your audience is into. I.e., if they're sci-fi fans, they would probably get into something like Battlestar Galactica. If that's not their genre, they may be turned off by it. I don't think that Settlers would have been nearly as popular if it was a Transformers theme and you wou were colonizing Cybertron, for instance. Some people would look at that, wrinkle their noses at "nerd stuff" and shut down immediately.

Then once you have your girlfriend and other friends really hooked, you can introduce games that the theme is something they're less interested in, but the game as a game is richer and deeper.
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Mike Stone
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Being new-er to the hobby game life. May I suggest something totally out in left field? I would suggest Stone Age. Its a great worker placement with light strategy and a little bit of luck. Not mention the smelly cup! (you know what I'm talking about) Its a great game and easy to learn. Also if you want another good intr euro that all my friends have enjoy is Milestones. Good starter with lots of options. It is an interesting twist on the Rondel Mechanic. Good luck on your hunt!
 
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