Iron Dragon is one of the easier titles to track down at the moment. It’s great, but be aware that there is more going on in it than most of the games in the series. Martian Rails is similar: easy-ish to find but probably not beginning friendly.
Probably avoid buying Empire Express (also readily available); it’s a “beginner’s Empire Builder” but it seems to lack some of the charm if it’s bigger, more interesting siblings.
Eurorails and Empire Builder both seem to be the good entry-points into the series but both can be kinda hard to find.
I also forgot that I’ve written about Nippon Rails in this thread (I’ll find the post when I’m at a computer instead of mobile. Edit: Your Last Played Game). I think it’s great for 2 (or maybe 3) players and it’s pretty easy to find.
Also: I have reason to believe that Fantasy Flight may be reprinting some of the series sometime soon, so I’m super excited for that.
We haven’t used or otherwise unleashed the Adventurers yet but I’m hoping they add some spice into the mix because I’ll be playing 2P most of the time. It definitely feels like more of a gem dash at two players, yet the decisions and timing of play are no less interesting, so I’m pretty satisfied with it as-is. That said, I’m really excited to see this at 3 or 4 and it’s definitely a pretty easy teach aside from the initial AP-inducing setup decisions as you noted.
There’s just something about self-contained action selection engines/economies like in this one that seem to really push my buttons. I don’t think it’s unfair to draw comparisons with War Chest’s deck building/chit pull hybrid system, which has a similar “tug-of-war-with-yourself” dynamic within its decision space. And that’s another game that sunk its hooks in deep from game one and never let go.
Blame Space - like the card version of The Captain Is Dead, only you’re trying to blame each other so that you come out of the mess looking good. Could easily overstay its welcome but we played a cut-down version (5 roles rather than 6) and I think I may keep doing that. Exploriana - Euro push-your-luck set collection. Kind of odd; clearly one that’ll appeal more to Euro fans. Lanterns Dice - huh. I guess? Maybe?
Tokyo Highways is fun, but I think I would rather go for Junk Art or Men At Work simply because they are more colourful and pleasing to the eye (especially Junk Art!)
Unlock - I would defo grab these if my friend doesnt have them
For @KIR : Blood on the Clocktower was a, I would say, well-engineered game of Werewolf. I played a game of 7 players. I call it well engineered because the potential mix of the character sets means that there is no certainty in the deduction process. There is always a “what if” in your reasoning which makes it hard to get a 90% certainty that your reasoning is correct. This is unlike ONUW.
The clockwise voting and nomination mechanic is miles better than ONUW. I was dead in one round, so I have 1 vote only. I was also last in the voting order, as the nominee for lynching is on my left. It was a tie between two nominees at 4 vores, and I raised my hand at the very last second and I blown everyone’s minds. It was awesome.
However, I am currently having a social deduction burn out atm. I dont see myself buying it nor did I had the desire to play it again. My two friends who never heard of Blood on the Clocktower before until the UKGE said that it was the best social deduction game ever. Although, they too have doubts on buying it. One of my friend backed it which is a huge factor on our decision.
Tikal - it was a demo game with my friend (she worked as a demo person for Keeping Exploring Games) and it was an interesting exploration and area control game. It ended at the end of the first scoring round, as it is a demo, but I dont feel the need to get it, in comparison to Mexica.
Quantified was a very interesting coop game and I usually dislike coops! The tempo of the game feels alright and the game feels so thematic. It looks like it got the basics right. I see some issues though, which I addressed to the designer who played with us. She was very nice. Unlike some games, I have a burning passion to play that game again.
High Rise is an interesting resource management + area control game. It didnt spark an interest in my though. It felt good but I have loads of other area control and other Euros to play. In fact, I’d rather play Rococo than this.
I played the best with this day.
3 Laws of Robotics was a really fun social deduction game in which it is like Hanabi where you know everyone’s identity, but not yourself. So you have one question that should be answered with a yes or a no. The laws of robotics are cards that you have to follow. Some of them are funny and silly like you need to say “data received” when asked by someone. Or game changing ones where you cannot inquire the highest ranking robots. I might get it, but it feels a bit simplictic.
Venice shoots up in my wishlist. The game is still in prototype with game balancing tweaks required. Venice is one of those Hansa Teutonica style Euros that are quicker and light than contempotary Euros but are also much more interesting and also more interactive (and meaner). No question: will back on Kickstarter when it shows up.
Europe Divided played like a snappy Twilight Struggle. A 2 player game between EU and NATO against Russia for struggle to control Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. I played as Europe in the demo and I find it wealthier but more difficult as you have to fulfil missions e.g. you need to have more NATO influence than Russian influnce in the Baltics, however, you only have EU influence! So now you have to build up NATO infleucne for you to score. Russian armies are closer to Eastern Europe than NATO armies. I wasnt excited about the moving armies and army clashes are on a 1:1 removal basis (a la Imperial). Could have been done better I think to make armies more thematic. And I have some reservations about backing it but Im definitely interested.
Tribes: Dawn of Humanity was a Euro game with a civilisarion theme based on the Stone Age. Your goal is for your tribe to transition from a nomadic tribe (level 1) to an agricultural one (level 3) by making discoveries. The actions that you can take depends on a shared action tiles, in which whatever action tile you take, it goes at the back (e.g. breeding more meeples will send the breeding tile at the back of the queue.) The first tile is free to take, but the following tiles cost a shell for each tile you skip. Your shells stay at the skip tiles for others (or you) to take. One-off action tiles get added into the queue which can be bad or good for you whenever a certain discovery is done.
Tribes allows you to go wide or specialise. Even change the course of the public tech tree which is a big thing and each player can only do it once per game. A very good amount of freedom. But you are always constrained by the ever moving action tiles themselves. The game is a light one that goes on for 1 to 1.5 hours (it says 45mins in the box). I bought it immediately after the game.
Summoner Isles seems like a simple light area control game. Good, but sadly never lit a fire in my heart.
Ah yeah, while we were playing someone made a spelling mistake which caused some confusion. Fortunately the word they made was KN*K so it was obvious there was an error, even if we didn’t know which letter had been dropped.
Played some more games of Root solo. I dropped the bots and just played each of the factions. The highlight might have been a Ranger Vagabond stopping the Eyrie from winning by knocking out their last rabbit roost (the Woodland Alliance revolted in the other one), which triggered turmoil since the Eyrie couldn’t recruit in a rabbit clearing. Current thoughts:
The Marquise doesn’t really need to be aggressive. They win by holding onto enough clearings to construct buildings.
Related to this, it may be better to just contain the Woodland Alliance. Don’t feed their engine by moving into sympathy; instead deny them easy expansion opportunities.
I have a hard time getting the Tinkerer Vagabond to gear up fast enough to make an impact. I had more luck with the Ranger Vagabond sniping, though it never getting a teapot really hurt it.
Each faction in Root has its own engine, and the game comes from them competing over territory and resources. The Eyrie engine is fast but fragile, so if it leaves itself vulnerable, the whole thing can crash. I’m still not entirely sure how to slow down the Woodland Alliance engine or get the Vagabond engine up and running.
Not sure if that helped, but I bet all that will make sense if you play.
I think whether I’d buy an expansion depends on the factions. Part of the fun is how each faction’s engine works (if I can get the Eyrie to not crash, it feels I accomplished something), but part of the fun is also in how the factions interact. For example, the Marquise and Eyrie are factions about taking and holding territory. But if the Woodland Alliance puts sympathy in a clearing, the Marquise and Eyrie don’t want to move there anymore, so that deters fighting in that area. And the Vagabond can have a symbiotic relationship with any faction. If expansion factions have similarly interesting interactions, then the expansions may go in my wishlist! I should probably play the game with other people first though.
Went back to the Tuesday night meetup. 5p game of The Mind. We crashed out in round 5.
Two 4p games of Cryptid. First time I heard of this game. You setup a map with 5 different terrain, cougar and bear territory, and some buildings. Every player has a single clue, and together the clues point to a single location on the map where the monster lives. Like Cluedo, players ask questions about various locations, trying to figure out what each other’s clues are and to find the monster. A lot of staring at the board and trying to figure out what clues other players could or couldn’t have, which I kinda wanted a piece of paper for.
Two 4p games of Blokus. By the second game, the new players got the hang of blocking others and staking territory, and so it was much closer.
I totally am on board with the asymmetrical play, but without the game being available, it’s hard to understand the full scope. (You’ve helped a lot, though, in your posts, and I’m trying to follow the Let’s Plays. I am just the absolute worst at getting game rules for games that I haven’t had a chance to play much, and then there’s a moment of clarity, and I suddenly become the rules-lawer).
I’m gonna keep an eye out for another printing, but if you see something before I do, I’d appreciate a heads-up. It looks really cool.
Board game savant and another chum popped round last night, and we played Hansa Teutonica. It started off with a standard Hansa board - bgs’ two cubes on the action route, my big disc blocking him, and the other chum’s cubes taking the book space. There was a lot of blocking, but we were unable to stop bgs getting another action. I muscled in on the bag action to get more resources and slowly choked them out. However, because they were choked they were also claiming routes, meaning i had a lot of cubes, but nothing on the board. For about 8 turns or so I had them chocked and eventually went for the big VP space (Coellegen? I can’t recall). At this point, bgs blocked me and made routes while taking keys. The other chum used a 4 action plate to get a welly on and again, completed cities and keys. So after strangling the game for the early period, I came dead last as I had no cubes to move around the board. BGS won with a score of 56, chum second with 46 and me dead last on 39. I was denied the last space in Collegiaten (I don’t know).
Afterwards we were all pretty drained and exhausted, as it took 3 hours and we were pretty much making optimal plays given our situation. i should have realised my choke hold was strong and started claiming routes, but it was too late as bgs had started the clock to the end of the game.
This is an underrated game. Yes, it’s 122 on BGG, but it should be in the top 5. It’s an absolute banger. Also, BGS and chum between them have about 60 plays, so for my second, I more than held my own.
Edit: I should mention the epic negotiation we had around allowing chum to claim the privilege track, while I could claim the action track and leave bgs to bump and move and claim routes. It lasted a long time, was quite harsh on both sides and resulted in me making a promise (which I didn’t break) but ultimately we both profited.
When I played this I took out my phone and started just taking notes, and a couple of other people followed suit. It was a full (5? 6?) player game and I just didn’t want to have the burden of re-figuring out what I had already figured out. Seemed to work well enough for us!
I played Dracarys Dice - which is a simple nut terrible dice game. Zombie dice even gives you more decisions than this game.
3 player Concordia with the Italy map, which is way faster. I won by 4 pts as I took the Concordia card! The Salsa expansion is just excellent. I will always include Salsa on every Concordia game.
Sushi Roll ×2 - interesting dice drafting since you can now see what everyone have. Pretty fun. But it is still Sushi Go so Im not really into it.
Dice Lanterns - a pleasant roll and write but average. Still prefers Welcome To and Railroad Ink
Wacky Races - pretty cool mini racing game from CMON. Basically a larger Odin’s Ravens. Didnt like Odin’s Raven. Didnt like this too. Hella fiddy game with lots of rules explanation in context of it being a quick filler game. Uninteresting. Dick Dastardly won in the end! Drats!
7 Wonders: Duel
After a long time, I have finally played Roll for the Galaxy. And I prefer Race. Roll is still fun and way more tactile with dice and cups, but Race is just elegant and quicker.