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Recommendations: Strategy with higher player counts (6+)

So last Saturday we hosted a game night with 7 people. And we ended up having to split the table into a 3 player and 4 player game because we didn’t want to play party games like Codenames or Crazy Words all night. What we played then was Black Angel and Pax Transhumanity … those were at the upper end of complexity that is acceptable for our group.

So what I am looking for are games that work at player counts beyond 4 or 5 (although 5 can be tricky, we’re equipped to handle that). We have plenty of quick games as mentioned above, plus roll & writes and a couple of hidden role games… but sometimes we just want to play a strategy game that still works with more players. Caveats: Except for 1 person we’re not into war games and several players are not into coop games…

We have:

  • 7 Wonders which got played so much it needs a rest
  • Robo Ralleye which needs to be back on the table definitely
  • Dune which plays 6 and hasn’t been on the table - yet.

What cool games am I missing out on? What do you do when you invite all your gamer friends and surprisingly they all reply with “I’ll be there” instead of “Sorry I’m busy”

Thanks ahead for your recommendations :slight_smile:

Eclipse? Needs the simultaneous research hack, and some really fast players.

Race for the Galaxy with expansions.

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In the extreme case, Twilight Imperium. (Which might not sit well with your group, but I think it’s more a politics and strategy game than a tactical one.)

Flamme Rouge with the Peloton expansion goes to six, and there’s a variant for 7-12.

Colt Express though you may find you don’t want both this and Robo Rally – though I’d favour it over pre-2016 RR as the game doesn’t drag on forever with player elimination.

Tsuro is probably more of a filler but works remarkably well with 8.

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For 6: Ethnos, Evolution, Great Fire of London 1666, Condottiere, Adrenaline (with the expansion).

Citadels goes up to 8. As does Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space. Saboteur goes to 10 or 12, depending on which version you have.

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The original is oop and the new one doesn’t come out till next year. I failed to have more than a passing look at it at the lautapelit booth. Does it play more than 6 with expansions?

I had not realized this played more than 4 people. I love this game (from playing on tablet) and I do own the German base game that Pegasus published last year and played it once. The base game is just not enough. Because of your recommendation, I checked availability of the Rio Grande version and instead found out that Pegasus is publishing an expansion pack at end of December… :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: Thank you.

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I think we’re not ready for this. But I sure hope one day we will be because it looks awesome. Right now negotiation games are something I am trying to introduce carefully… (so the next question is: what games do I bring to the table to get players comfortable with concepts that may lead to wanting to play TI?)

All your other recommendations are owned by friends of ours. They were there and apparently had Colt Express with them that night… my bad then… we were a bit too focussed on trying my SPIEL loot.

That gives me a lot of games to research that I know too little about :slight_smile:

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The original Werewolf slips-of-paper-in-a-hat works well for that size or more (over 5, 2 Werewolves, add a Werewolf for every 4th player over 7, also a Seer. Everyone who knows me knows I bring up the PnP Werewolf way too often). We just don’t do flat-out elimination, and let “dead” players hang around as “ghosts” if they can keep a straight face and be silent during the “Day” phase, and chat without giving anything away at “Night.” This can be rather hilarious.

Captain Sonar is another good one for larger groups. In fact, that’s the only time I want to break it out.

I’m also with @RogerBW: Tsuro, a filler, sure, but good group game for up to 8. Tsuro of the Seas (which I want) is a little more involved, up to 8, but ultimately still a filler game. Also, both have some of the prettiest end-game boards.


OK, brass tacks, not game recommendations:

Having managed up to 30 people a session, flexibility with multiple games and “splitting the party,” so to speak, is a good idea with 6+. It gets hard to keep track of everyone over 5 or 8 people, having multiple simultaneous game options is great. If Anomia is too stressful for some, they can play Ghost Stories in the other room (real-life example).

Make sure you have separate, semi-private areas for each, and you really do have to assign a GM you trust and the other players respect for each. It sounds cold, but one can do this smoothly if a big deal isn’t made out of it, and the other players generally accept. For being naturally competitive, gamers tend to accept structure over social competition. It’s weird, not always true, but has generally worked for me.

Delegating doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people (at least it didn’t to me), but you get the hang of it before too long (or at least I did, because I’m lazy). You still get to play the game you’re involved in, and check in on the other game(s) during snack/restroom/smoke/text breaks, and live a little vicariously when you visit the other gamers or when they visit you.

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I think Eclipse caps at 6.

Race for the Galaxy requires 2 expansions to play with 6 players - you get one more player per expansion. There are 3 expansion “arcs” that aren’t meant to be combined, but I think any two expansions will give you what you need for 6 players (the first “arc” is sold as three different expansions, and the 1st and 2nd each add a player colour, while the 3rd one doesn’t. The second arc and third arc are each self-contained, but each add a player colour). I like the second arc and third arc better, but the first two parts of the first arc are also very good.

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I can’t believe I forgot to plug Disney Villainous again! 2-6 players (with expansion(s)) but I bet you could house-rule it to 10.

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For me, down time is the biggest problem with that large of a group on anything resembling strategy games, so games that can get close to simultaneous actions are a big plus. Drafting games and roll & writes end up filling that need well. You mentioned already being covered on roll and writes. For 7+ drafting that isn’t 7 Wonders, maybe Sushi Go Party or Steampunk Rally (you’ll need lots of table space for that one), both of which go up to 8 I’m pretty sure.

Taking it down from 6+ to a straight 6 and it is slightly more forgiving. Concordia Venus with the team play is solid at 6 but can’t go higher and I love Libertalia but it maxes out at 6.

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Not heavy, but Camel Up with the Supercup expansion plays up to 12.

With a big group I’d love to run simultaneous games of Pandemic and race each other to win.

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Disclaimer: I’ve not played any of these with 6

Strangely (or maybe not?) I have only very train-y suggestions:

  • Age of Steam has components for 6. The thing about AoS, I’ve heard, is matching the player count to the map is crucial.
  • Eurorails (or any of the Empire Builder crayon rails series) is old but supports 6 and could be a big hit… It could also be a dud
  • ChIcago Express is well regarded but not necessarily at 6

Oh! I thought of some that aren’t train games!

  • Alhambra isn’t best at 6 but it certainly works. May not be heavy enough. (I actually played this at 6! Woo! I’m helping!)
  • Caverna infamously goes to 7… So… Probably don’t try that one unless you are really desperate
  • Mysterium is probably quite good at 6
  • Power Grid is decent at 6 (one of the two on this list that I’ve actually played at 6 players)
  • Viva Java: The Coffee Game has been on my shelf unplayed for years because I think it really needs higher player counts and I don’t ever have a chance to play with more than 3 or 4 players.
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Best of all at 7, but pretty darn good at 6.

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Sorry for being disruptive, but I just want to say that over and over again.

“Camel Up with the Supercup…”

C-C-C-Combo Breaker! (to revive a dead meme)

But you’re right, there are several train games that can support a larger load of players. Even the original Ticket To Ride is geared for 2-5, and fandom has expanded that to 8 (I’m desperately looking for the PDFs now).

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Going beyond six players is mad tricky… Your say your group also doesn’t like coop (ruling out Mysterium) or wargames but they do like negotiation.

It never gained much traction and may be out of print at this point, but New Angeles sits six players, plays best at that number and imho absolutely kicks with the right group. If you can find it, it’ll probably be cheap as chips.

I’ll echo (ha!) the sentiment that Captain Sonar is wonderful with the full eight players, although my friends and I are of the opinion that it’s prudent to have a neutral referee playing as well.

Citadels, as mentioned, sits up to eight players, but I think it starts to drag a bit with more than five…

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:clap::clap::clap: :neutral_face:

Well played, my friend.


Yes, over 6 gets nuts, and 8 can be really hard to handle. 4-6 seems to be a sweet-spot, with 4 seeming sparse (though intimate and friendly) and 6 seeming big (but more like a party), but with 5 or 7, the odd number still makes me feel like there’s someone leftover. No perfect solution, roll with what you got.

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I’m interested if anybody specifically did not mention Ladies & Gentlemen. It’s such a wildcard in my collection. I bought it because truly, if the group is right, poking fun at Victorian culture and stodgy gender roles could be a blast. Aside from whether the theme and underlying message (which certainly causes some amount of concern in what I’ve heard about the game), how does the actual game stack up?

It seems to be more than a party game but less than a serious strategy game.

I’m just curious if anybody thought to mention it and chose not to.

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The new edition of Camel Up now plays up to 10. I like the addition of crazy camels, but I prefer the cardboard pyramid from the original edition.

Seconded. It’s rare for a game to encourage players to get deep into character. I would say the ladies’ side has some interesting play, especially if you play with the gossip cards, but the gentlemen’s side is less strategic.

Shorter games: Magic Maze, Sushi Go Party, Welcome To…, Cash 'n Guns. Longer games: Root with expansions, co-op games like Battlestar Galactica, Dead of Winter, Shadows Over Camelot, etc.

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I want to answer everyone and comment on every game but you have been just too generous with your recommendations and there are now many exciting games for me to explore… :smiley: I am sure we’ll have a great many options for our next “big” game night – whenever that happens (hopefully sooner rather than later) – especially because there are games in this list that either we or our friends own already. For games someone else owns, I rarely know the possible player counts so this was immensely helpful putting those games on my radar…

I’ve had this under consideration and found copies at online shops. Since a lot of us are huge cyberpunk fans this might actually be a great game for almost everyone.

I’ve been wanting a reason to buy Concordia Venus for some time now :slight_smile: I’ve never even played Concordia. And Libertalia also sounds promising, lots of love for pirates here…

I saw that mentioned in Last Played… had not realized it goes up to 6. Do you have to know all the Disney movies? What sounds good is the playtime of 50 minutes which probably goes up with 6 but that’s a good starting point.

Thanks for those :slight_smile: We have two tables but only one room (dinner+living room) to play in. It worked well enough this week-end. And our dinnertable would seat up to 8 with a large game --well maybe not TI :wink:

Instead of Mysterium we have already got Obscurio from last Essen on our “buy this soon” list. This also plays 8 or so. And at least one if not two of our friends own Powergrid already… and for some reason (probably this forum) Viva Java is on my wishlist except that I haven’t been able to find it.

I do have to look at Camel Up… I think it was Spiel des Jahres and I don’t normally miss those as completely as I did this.

:slight_smile: Of these we own a few and others are on my wishlist or we have played them before. Our friend with Camelot vanished to another city and took his games with him. But Battlestar Galactica is still around as is Sushi Go (not party though, is party worth buying?), Magic Maze and Cash’n’Guns.

Personally, I am quite interested in Root but it is currently unavailable in my usual haunts so that will have to wait… we also just saw a review for Dead of Winter that got my partner interested in the game especially with the expansion that makes it into a team vs team competition between two camps of survivors. (Also someone really loves zombies…)

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Not at all. It follows the trend of “most of the rules are on the cards,” and being an asymmetrical game, you just need the basics before starting (and then everything gets crazy).

It does help if you are a fan of the movies, because you get to geek out a bit, but it’s purely thematic. People who love to hate the Villains will get more marrow out of these bones.

Also, the quality and art values are amazing, it has style in spades, but there are really well balanced roles and rules that make every game a challenge. I have a hard time deciding which is the icing and which is the cake.

The gameplay stands up quite well by itself: asymmetrical, almost to the point of being an entirely different game depending on the role you’ve chosen, but still keeping you engaged in the other player’s turns no matter what. Jeeze, that’s good stuff.

Games can be significantly longer than what’s on the box, especially with more players. Everyone thinks more about their turn, and what the jerk-butt sitting across from them will do to screw them over. Fantastic!

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