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The Board Game Thread!

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Finally, somewhere to talk about board games.

Recently I've been playing a ton of Dominion, and man do I ever love Dominion. I bought it back in 2011 or so after one of my cousins introduced me to the game. My friends and I were not aware of modern board games, and it was a massive hit with my group. We played it all the time, and we would teach it to whoever was over. I keep reading stories about how someone finds a gateway game and then starts buying tons of other games. Instead we just stuck with Dominion for years and added more and more expansions. I think we slowed down around 2016 when we all started playing D&D.

But, about a year ago I dug out all of my Dominion boxes and found that I could just fit everything into the smallest one if I tossed out the molded plastic card divider, which made it way easier to get it out and set up games. Then I taught Katie to play and we picked up a new expansion. So I've been playing it a lot again, and I think I like it as much as when I first played it.

So, what's so great about Dominion? Well, first of all, it's extremely easy to learn. On your turn you start with five cards, you play one action and make one buy (adding a new card to your deck), then discard everything and draw five new cards. That's it! As you play you want to make your deck stronger by adding good cards to it and potentially removing weak cards. The ultimate goal is to have the most victory points, but VP only comes on cards that don't do anything else. So, there's a wonderful built in tension between wanting to build a strong deck, and then having to slowly make it worse by adding victory cards to it.

The game has a ton of variety. Each game has ten random stacks of cards available to buy, in addition to a few default money and victory cards. These stacks are randomly selected each time you play, and expansions add more possible cards to pick. I have around 100 stacks of cards, which gives me well over a trillion possible combinations. I could play for the rest of my life and never see the same game a second time. And I have fewer than half of the available expansions.

Finally, this game has layers to it. When you first start playing, you might find that certain cards are better to buy than others. Then, you realize that your starting cards are actually awful, and you will do better if you can find a way to remove those cards from your deck. Then, you start finding that some cards that you thought were good are actually not helping you that much, and ones that you thought were bad are actually good in certain situations. you learn how to put together good engines and slow your opponent, and how to make the most of what you have available. There are people who have played tens of thousands of games and it's still offering up new experiences.

There are downsides, too. It's sort of dry. There's not much theme. It involves a lot of set up and shuffling. It's just not for everyone. But, if you do like it, it's an extremely rewarding and fun game to invest your time in.

Anyway, what games do you love? What have you been playing recently? Or, is there something new coming out that you're looking forward to?
 

DFalcon

(he/him)
An obligatory part of layer 3 there: Big Money.

I look forward to... at the risk of stating the obvious, the end of COVID-19. It's really done a number on my board gaming, especially since I live alone. Occasionally I get something together on boardgamearena or TTS - Kingdom Builder worked well there, recently - but less than once a week, now.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Yeah, Big Money is good until it isn’t. It’s the strongest with the base game, but even there an experienced player will usually beat it.

I’m very fortunate that Katie likes playing games, but I’m really looking forward to getting bigger groups together too. I only played with the Root Underworld expansion twice, and I haven’t been able to play Concordia or Jump Drive with bigger groups.
 

DemoWeasel

Workin' real hard to make internet cash.
(He/Him)
Pence and I miss playing 3+ player games in person, but we've certainly been playing a hell of a lot of 2-player games while we wait for the plague to pass.

I lament that our Circle Undone campaign for the Arkham Horror LCG is on hold, since our friend Dan is the third in our investigating party and we're responsibly avoiding get-togethers.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
When you and your wife are both board gamers, every anniversary is the cardboard anniversary. Our haul this year:

Cartographers is a flip-and-write (or, if you prefer, draw-and-draw) with simple rules but dynamic scoring. Each game has four scoring objectives (out of 16 different objectives), and because the order makes a difference, each game is different. It plays quickly, it's very portable, and it's a satisfying challenge that can accommodate any number of players. I'd recommend this to just about anybody.

Bärenpark is a tile-laying game with essentially zero randomness, which is neat. If you like putting shapes on a grid, this might be the game for you. Or maybe Patchwork is the game for you. That one's good, too.

Rajas of the Ganges
is a game Rodney Smith (of Watch It Played fame) introduced me to. I didn't know who he was at the time, but I enjoyed the game. You're trying to increase your money and your fame, and you win when the two meet in the middle -- so if you're producing a lot of money, you don't need as much fame to win. There are lots of approaches you can take, and you can't rely on a single strategy working in a given game. Wife and I are enjoying this one very much.
 

JaikuRirishii

Worthless Physicist
(He/Him)
Hello! I am new here, but I am quite into board games.

I like all kinds of Deck building games. At one point I had every expansion to Dominion, but now I'm behind by... three?
Ultimately, my wife likes dominion way, way more than I do. I would rather set up, play, and break down two different games of Ascension in the time it takes me to play Dominion once. (Realms Unraveled is my favorite version of Ascension). Would rather play Marvel Legendary, really.

I've been super into Board Game Arena ever since this pandemic. I used to have people over once a week just to force myself to be social, and now I can't. If you like deck building games, there are only three on them on BGA right now, but they're pretty neat, albeit atypical.

Eminent Domain is like Dominion, Race for the Galaxy, and Puerto Rico all got pushed together. It lacks the action management of dominion, but it's got some nice constructive player interaction.
I actually got this for Christmas before this whole pandemic happened. Finally got the expansion, recently, and the game gets way better with the expansions.

Dice Forge isn't actually a deck building game, it's a dice-building game. The key difference is just because you bought something, doesn't mean it's guaranteed to show up ever.

Time Masters was only released in, like, France? So they only have the french cards on BGA, and you need to scroll over them to read them in English? The programming is janky and has crashed on me a few times to make games not-complete-able, but JEEZ, it's so DIFFERENT. Cards cost energy, which you keep between rounds, to play. The cost of the card(s) you can buy each turn is based on how many cards you've been able to play. You can send cards into the future. I like to think I've played a lot of deck builders, but this is so different.

Unrelated to deck building:

I really like trains? I'm not a professional rail-o-phile or anything but I like games about trains but never had the guts to go and buy the game "Russian Railroads" but it's on BGA and a lot of fun.
It's a worker placement game where they've streamlined away all the resource management common to the genre, and it's ONLY about tracks increasing.
 

JaikuRirishii

Worthless Physicist
(He/Him)
I am too intimidated by the legacy of 18XX games to even dare place my foot over there. It's a big scary mountain which will either reveal that I'm actually not as good at complicated games as I like to think, or I would really stick to it and would lose all of my money.
I was hoping to maybe play one at the local board game cafe that had opened up, but hey,the covid.
 

DemoWeasel

Workin' real hard to make internet cash.
(He/Him)
There's a way you can play them without having to buy any: https://www.18xx.games/

1889 and 18Chesapeake are good starting points for "traditional" 18XX games that hew closer to 1830 in their rules.

1846 is a bit different from those, but it's also the first one I played.

Really, they're not as complicated as they seem. It's really a series of games about making smart investments, performing inter-company shenanigans, and timing!
 

Behemoth

Dostoevsky is immortal!
(he/him/his)
There's a way you can play them without having to buy any: https://www.18xx.games/

1889 and 18Chesapeake are good starting points for "traditional" 18XX games that hew closer to 1830 in their rules.

1846 is a bit different from those, but it's also the first one I played.

Really, they're not as complicated as they seem. It's really a series of games about making smart investments, performing inter-company shenanigans, and timing!
Yeah, echoing what Demo said, although I've only dipped my toe in the shallow end of the 18XX pool with 18Chesapeake, I think the games' reputation is overblown. They can be mathy, especially toward the end, but if you've played any of the increasingly rules-intensive euros of the past decade (which it looks like you have), 18XX is totally doable (and actually less complicated than many of those games).

Speaking of euros, another introductory option would be City of the Big Shoulders, which I believe now has an online implementation over at BGA. I think City of the Big Shoulders is actually more complicated than 18Chesapeake, but since it's a mashup of 18XX and euro mechanics it also serves as a decent gateway to the 18XX genre if you've already go a facility with standard euro conventions (which, again, it looks like you do). Plus it's just a fun game in its own right.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I don't actually think that 18XX games are too complicated. The bigger concern is that they're difficult to play well. Newer players will just approach them as straightforward games where you buy stocks in a railroad and then manage that railroad, in which case more experienced players will run circles around them.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
OK, so having played a few solo rounds of Anachrony to work the mechanics out, it is a lot less complicated than its sorta busy visual design makes it appear! Worker placement, but only some of your workers can visit the outside world so they need suits.

It's sort of a timey-wimey Lords of Waterdeep, to some extent. It even has a common resources (water) followed by four kinds of cubes that in various combination you spend on things for points! But instead of one kind of generic worker there are four, three of which are good at certain things, and one of which is pretty good at all the things. You can borrow resources from the future but the longer it takes to pay them back the more likely it is you get an anomaly parked on one of your building slots.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
CaliScrub, Stiv and I have had a weekly board game time set aside for a bit now! It started with playing a lot of Root, which was fun; I've now played every faction but the Otters once. We started branching out into other games: going off Root, we played a game of Vast: The Crystal Caverns which ended up extremely wonky, but we liked the proof of concept enough to slot Vast: the Mysterious Manor into our rotation at some point.

Last time we played we had limited time because my D&D had been rescheduled so we played Rattus, the black plague game, which ended up being a lot of fun. I won but I had 21 cubes out while the other two were tied with 19 out, so it was a really tight game.

I wanna play more boardgames 😭
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
I love the wonkiness of Crystal Caverns, but I understand that Mysterious Manor is much cleaner in its functionality and would like to try it.
 

JaikuRirishii

Worthless Physicist
(He/Him)
I've always been interested in Anachrony, but somehow never got around to getting it. I guess it was because my friends who were interested in a game that looked so intense had left town.

Hey speaking of worker placement, I know it's out of print but does anyone like Belfort? Literally had to buy it used off of a seller on board game geek but it's so good. Probably haven't opened the box in two years...

Oh, if anyone wants to befriend me on board game arena, go for it. I go by JBaron85.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Cosmic Frog looks really cool. I was blown away by the boxart when I saw it last year, and I've been keeping my eye on it since.



Space Biff has a review coming out soon, and he says it's great. So Very Wrong About Games gave it a positive review, as well.


Obviously I can't play it with folks yet, and I have a few newer games that I want to introduce to friends before picking up anything else. But, I would love to give it a shot sometime down the road.
 
I got a quick runthrough of Cosmic Frog while I was working at PAX East last year, and I preordered it when it went up online. Unfortunately preordered at a time when we can't get our usual multiplayer group together to swallow worlds and punch frogs.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Anyone have any thoughts on Ankh, Eric Lang's latest for CMON? I tossed in a dollar back when the campaign is on but it's just not really grabbing me for some reason, even though I really like Rising Sun and enjoy Blood Rage.
 

JaikuRirishii

Worthless Physicist
(He/Him)
I do TTS from time to time, yeah.

I still like Eric Lang but, like, the whole kickstarter campaign for Rising Sun and the way that most kickstarters are all about selling plastic figures more about selling board games has started bugging me. Anhk wasn't even on my radar.
 

Behemoth

Dostoevsky is immortal!
(he/him/his)
I'm not usually a fan of plastic-minis-on-a-map-type games (I'm a soulless euros and dry economic games kind of guy), but I was surprised by how much I liked Rising Sun (so much that I went all in on tracking down the kickstarter bonuses and expansion). That said, I wasn't a big fan of Blood Rage based on my one play of it, so I decided to stick with Rising Sun for now.
 

JaikuRirishii

Worthless Physicist
(He/Him)
My wife really skewed my taste in games a lot towards the Euroes, so I like them. But I do still like a good bit of Amerithrashing.
My wife hates attacking anyone in games, or doing any action she feels may be construed as picking on people. So, because she's present in most of the games I play, I have a lot more euroes than I would otherwise.

But I'll still buy games if I think there's no chance she'll play them, just so that in the future I might get to play them with someone else. I own every single piece of Yomi 2e content, including the bonus pandas, even though she won't play them.
On the topic of both Eric Lang and games my wife won't play, anyone like Bloodborne: The Card Game? I like it a lot, and these marbled blood tokens are so evocative. If I had to levy any complaint against it, it's that the base game doesn't have enough weapons to make the game not feel weird with five players.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
I do TTS from time to time, yeah.

I still like Eric Lang but, like, the whole kickstarter campaign for Rising Sun and the way that most kickstarters are all about selling plastic figures more about selling board games has started bugging me. Anhk wasn't even on my radar.
I'm not usually a fan of plastic-minis-on-a-map-type games (I'm a soulless euros and dry economic games kind of guy), but I was surprised by how much I liked Rising Sun (so much that I went all in on tracking down the kickstarter bonuses and expansion). That said, I wasn't a big fan of Blood Rage based on my one play of it, so I decided to stick with Rising Sun for now.
I have had mixed results from CMON stuff. Zombicide? Pretty good but I couldn't get it played. Sedition Wars? Nice minis but a pain in the ass to assemble, never played. The Others I've played a couple times, and I like it (even wrote up a campaign spreadsheet for it), but it's not a house favorite. Cthulhu: DMD was getting played regularly until the lockdown. I ran a VERY fun custom game of World of Smog: Rise of Moloch last fall for Halloween and am very glad to have all the minis and extras for that.

I own and have played Blood Rage a few times; it's not a great favorite but it was worth it to put in for the extras in the digital campaign a while back (and the digital version is good to). But Rising Sun I really love. It's probably the best game CMON has put out that I've played, and the minis certainly don't detract from it. Aside from the extra factions, though, you don't really need them unless you want more monster variety. Plays fast, hits a just-right spot in terms of complexity and has really interesting strategy. Might cause hard feelings over broken alliances and betrayals, though. Ankh I was considering on the basis of it being a Lang design, but it just isn't grabbing me that hard.

Lang's mostly a euro-style designer at heart, I think, however fancy the pieces look.

Once I've got Gloomhaven moving maybe I'll try and host a game of RS.
 
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Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
Bloodborne card game is way better than I was expecting it to be. I especially like how they captured the spirit of online co-op by going "you're not working together, you're trying to establish your dominance over your so-called teammates".
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
Bloodborne card game is way better than I was expecting it to be. I especially like how they captured the spirit of online co-op by going "you're not working together, you're trying to establish your dominance over your so-called teammates".
I played it once at Talcon (hadn't played Bloodborne yet at that point) and thought it was pretty neat, but it didn't make a huge impression. But I might pick it up to have around now that I've actually played the video game.

That said, looking it up just now, there's a Dark Souls card game too (not to be confused with the minis one which was apparently Not Good). Has anyone played that?
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Recently brought a copy of Paperback for my sister's partner. If you don't know it, its Dominion-style deckbuilding with Scrabble-style wordbuilding. I recommend it.
 

JaikuRirishii

Worthless Physicist
(He/Him)
I'm amazed you can still get that! I found it when it first came out, and bought it because I was visiting my parents at the time and thought they'd appreciate it. I like Paperback, even though I'm bad at word games.

Just due to the box size, it's kinda landed in a shelf of smaller games, and so like the other things in that shelf doesn't hit the table much. I have perhaps too many games. No, such a thing doesn't exist, does it?
 

John

(he/him)
I'm also in the Too Many Games category, and not much gets to the table. I think I need to start culling based on personal popularity and game type. Like, worker placement, I've got a ton of those with minor variations on the concept, but vanilla Stone Age gets played the most. Deckbuilding, I've got Legendary, Dominion, a couple others, but the co-op Harry Potter Battle for Hogwarts wins every time.

I need to update a list of all my games, maybe on BGG, and see if anyone's interested in the unplayed ones.
 
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