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The Board Game Thread!

liquid

King of Games
(He/Him)
TTS is great, although there are definitely some games that it is just not made for. I'd love to play a game of Innovation with someone during the pandemic, but trying to splay cards sounds like a nightmare.
 

John

(he/him)
I picked up the latest Carcassonne big box for Christmas, to replace an earlier one I gave away in a move. We've been slowly adding in expansions as we play, but the core game is still good on its own. We got my kids to play a couple times, but they get discouraged when they don't immediately win. The game does scale really well for smaller numbers, but we did play with 6 with my in-laws, and it took too long to get back around, so the kids zoned out. Also, my 4yo only wants to see his guy on the points tracker catch up to whoever's in the lead, which never happens.

2-player base game plus the big meeples is the sweet spot so far.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
I find that the inns & cathedrals themselves add a lot to the game without complicating things too much.

My other favorite is the shepherd from hills & sheep. It adds a nice push your luck element, and it works with any tile that has a field (almost all of them, across all expansions). And it has the bonus of making those random road/field tiles useful.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Has anyone tried the Terraforming Mars expansions? There's a bunch, they mostly seem kinda light on content for the price, and I'm not sure which ones might be worth it. I got Prelude for the app and it's fine, but not sure about the hard copy.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
I got Prelude for Christmas but haven't played it yet. It's a relatively low number of cards, but I understand it greatly speeds up the start of the game. It's got near-universal acclaim as best I can tell.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
In case you're watching this thread but not the MS forum: come play Letter Jam!

With that out of the way: we finished Pandemic Legacy Season 0 last night. I stand by my assessment that it's the best of the lot. It's also the only one of the three I could see myself replaying. (I couldn't see myself paying to replay it, but that's a different question.) Start to end, it was just really well done.
 

DFalcon

(he/him)
TTS is great, although there are definitely some games that it is just not made for. I'd love to play a game of Innovation with someone during the pandemic, but trying to splay cards sounds like a nightmare.
There's a free Innovation implementation on boardgamearena.com. I've played it a few dozen times, it works quite well.

It's still a little different from playing physically, of course, but on the up side it's become much harder over the last year for my group to forget that you need a top card at least X to achieve X.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
If anyone's interested in Discover: Lands Unknown, Miniature Market has it on clearance for $18.

It has an interesting conceit: each box has varying contents, like FFG's KeyForge game. So there's six possible environments and 36 characters to play as, and you'll get two and 12 of those in each box, for instance (it's not meant to be collectible, just unique for each box; each copy is a complete game, just not exactly the same as any other copy). Events, items, etc., are distributed similarly. I playtested it and didn't love it, but while I wouldn't pay $60 retail for it myself, $18 has me thinking about it.
 
A friend lent us Patchwork since I was lamenting the lack of 2-player games and he said he and his wife have been playing it a lot during the pandemic, I liked it! Quick and requires some planning out your moves, a very nice weekday night game. Also it's only for 2 players, it feels nice to have something that's optimized for two rather than adapted for two.

Also one of the reviews is titled "An economic knife-fight hidden under a cosy quilt" so that's legit.
 

Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
A friend lent us Patchwork since I was lamenting the lack of 2-player games and he said he and his wife have been playing it a lot during the pandemic, I liked it! Quick and requires some planning out your moves, a very nice weekday night game. Also it's only for 2 players, it feels nice to have something that's optimized for two rather than adapted for two.

Also one of the reviews is titled "An economic knife-fight hidden under a cosy quilt" so that's legit.
Some other two-player games I recommend looking into:

Raptor - asymmetrical game where one of you plays a mother raptor and her babies trying to escape into the jungle, and the other plays a team of scientists trying to capture the babies to study. The card system by which you determine who does what actions in what order leads to a lot of strategic thinking. Tiled landscapes with multiple sides mean every game plays at least a little differently.

Kero - You play post-apocalyptic crews driving your Fury Road-esque big rigs across the desert searching for fuel and a new place to settle. There's timed dice-rolling involved, where your truck is an hourglass representing your fuel expenditure, so you're trying to get the right rolls before your fuel runs out (or you're refueling your truck while your opponent tries to get the rolls to stop you as quickly as possible). I've enjoyed my games with it and so have the people I've played with.

Onitama - kind of a lite chess with a limited move pool. 5 pieces per side, capture the other leader or get to the other side's home square. Pieces don't have their own moves, each game only has 5 moves you can do - those moves are on cards, each of you with 2 in front of you and 1 waiting to cycle in. As you use the moves they cycle out to the other player, so there's the strategy of "if I use this move, he'll get it the turn after next, and he might use it on me to disastrous effect... but this other move isn't as good for me right now, so..." The base game comes with 16 move cards (and at least one expansion has 16 more) so each game you play will have a different combination of moves available and will end up playing very differently.


Pixel Tactics - you have a 3x3 square with a commander and various soldiers, and you draw and summon as you're able. Each card has a different ability for whether it's in the front, middle or rear rank, and a special ability for when they're your commander. A loooot of trying to balance abilities and crunching out optimal moves. Each game will play pretty differently based on who your commander is, so plenty of replay. It also has something like 5 sets of different characters, and there's a Mega Man themed version out there too.

Battle Con - kind of a simulation of a 2d fighting game. Each character has unique "styles" that you pair with base attacks, as you pick your moves and reveal simultaneously. A lot of strategy in picking cards and playing each character differently, or differently depending on the opponent. Ton of characters across 4 sets, each of which plays very differently (but you can get one of the smaller sets to start off). Kind of the quintessential Level99 game, it has like a million little expansions and alternative play modes (2v1 boss fights, 3v1 ultra boss fights, single player adventure mode...) but you don't have to worry about any of that until you try out the base game and decide you like it enough to expand it.
 

karzac

(he/him)
Some other favourite simple two player games:
  • Jaipur - card collecting, kinda like Ticket to Ride without the board
  • Battle Line - area control mixed with poker hands. One of my favourite Reiner Knizia games
  • Star Realms - straightforward deckbuilding in space
  • Hive - chess but the pieces are the board.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
I don't have a ton of 1 vs. 1 only games, but games I have that work well as duels include Star Wars: Rebellion (which essentially is a duel, just allows teams to play each side), Wingspan, Lords of Waterdeep and Terraforming Mars. Anachrony I haven't played yet, but since it tops out at four I imagine it plays well with two. Twilight Struggle is a Cold War game for two players; might be a bit dry for some, but strategically very tricky and challenging. And of course there's my favorite two-player game, X-Wing Miniatures, but that can be a huge money sink.

Cooperative games are also great for two players, I find, so stuff like Elder Sign, Mansions of Madness 2E and Journeys in Middle-earth might be worth checking out (the latter two use an app for the "game" turn). Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a fantastic intro to the larger game (and you can use the characters in standard GH if you go that route down the line), and perfectly playable by two.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
If you're a fan of dungeon crawls with a villain player, check out this sale on Miniature Market; Rise of Moloch is an excellent game system and they've even got the KS extras on sale.

Other CMON stuff on sale too; Rising Sun is great stuff.
 

Behemoth

Dostoevsky is immortal!
(he/him/his)
If you're a fan of dungeon crawls with a villain player, check out this sale on Miniature Market; Rise of Moloch is an excellent game system and they've even got the KS extras on sale.

Other CMON stuff on sale too; Rising Sun is great stuff.

I'm not generally a big fan of CMON's whole oeuvre, but I love me some Rising Sun.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
I like a lot of their stuff, but not all. Didn't go for Ankh, sold off Zombicide (which was fun but I couldn't get anyone to play; I'm stubbornly holding onto The Others). Sedition Wars was way too much work to assemble. Cthulhu: DMD is fun, and I like Blood Rage pretty well. But Rising Sun and World of Smog: Rise of Moloch are top of the heap for me.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
This Stellaris board game looks interesting but between having Twilight Imperium, Eclipse and Hyperspace (once it ships) already it might be one 4x space game too many...
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
I've been playing Journeys in Middle-earth lately, first solo and more recently with Nico, and been really enjoying it. (I actually did an editing pass on the game a few years ago, but took a while to get around to actually playing the contributor copy I was sent.) It plays a lot like Mansions of Madness 2.0, but with a different difficulty balance (more combat heavy) and theme (obviously). It's got an interesting core mechanic where instead of dice you have a small deck of cards. Some of these cards you "prepare," which means they're taken out of your deck rotation and the text on them can be executed when needed/allowed. The rest form your randomization factor, with some of the cards having a success symbol, some an inspiration symbol (which can be turned into successes with inspiration tokens and other effects), and some are blank. Have a combat test using Might, and a Might of 4? Draw four cards and count your successes, add more if able, and apply hits the way your weapon calls for. Have a prepared card with the keyword Strike 2? Discard it and add two more hits to your total (discarded cards are shuffled back into your deck at the start of each round, sometimes more often; lots of card milling and shuffling, so I'd recommend sleeves).

It's a pretty game, the app is well done, and there's a mix of journey maps (sprawling, largely outdoors or in the occasional ruin or cave) and battle, maps, which are smaller but have various terrain items (and aren't always immediately a fight; there's one where you're trying to find a spy in a tavern). I like apps for games as a supplement, always being worried that an app needed to make the physical components function will go the way of an EA multiplayer server, but on a functional level it's done well and moves fast.

One thing to note is that it's hard, even on normal, which can lead to some frustration as you lose scenario after scenario (with two heroes, anyway; I used Bilbo and Gimli as their "standard" starting roles and had a hard time; the trio of Aragorn, Legolas and Beravor that I'm running with Nico is going a lot better). Try Adventure mode first, which makes things easier and takes some of the time pressure off as you learn the game. I just picked up the Shadowed Paths expansion and the figure packs, so once we're done with the base campaign I'm looking forward to trying the other three (one campaign per big box, with additional campaigns as $7 add-ons).
 
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