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Tabletop Freeplay discussion

MaawdawgMaawdawg CT, USARegistered User regular
Hello all, I wanted to open up some discussion about the tabletop area in East, as a catchall discussion place since I didn't see any threads dedicated to it.

To get things started I have a (longwinded) question. I have been out of any form of tabletop gaming for a long while, well over a decade since my days of Red and Blue box TSR AD&D, and have just started reforming a "gaming night" with some friends and family. We started out with something very simple, Hero Quest, which I have had since forever ago (to keep it simple) and now we are starting to move onto other games and I am looking for recommendations and help what direction to go because there is just so much out there to choose from. My last two years at PAX East were limited to only a Saturday trip so I stuck to the videogame side but this year I have a full 3 days and am looking to dig into the tabletop side of things but a bit but walking through it the past couple years made me think I should go in with a gameplan because I didn't have much knowledge about anything I saw there.

Basically I am looking for recommendations at good starter/foundation games to get the group rolling, most in the group are heavy videogamers so simple rules aren't a necessity. If you have any favorites or suggestions any help would be appreciated. Also are games readily available for purchase at vendors or booths there or is it more of a "test here, buy when you get home" idea. I got Last Night on Earth and an expansion pack for it over the holidays and we have played that and really enjoyed it through the first handful of sessions. In looking around I am already interested in Munchkin and also Cutthroat Caverns as future purchases. I also have the Margaret Weis Marvel RPG I grabbed last year (while getting some Dragonlance books autographed) but I think it would be a bit on the deep end to jump my group into at the moment.

Any help would be appreciated and I am looking forward to whatever tabletop discussion happens here that I can learn from, whether related to my question or not. ;-)

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    whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    My first thought was "Dominion, definitely" since you didn't mention any deck-building games, and deck-building covers a lot of tabletop games. Dominion is a good place to start since it's ubiquitous, not hellishly difficult to get into or too gimmicky (if you stick to the first couple of boxes) and covers most concepts you'll find in other deck-builders.

    Is it PAX <insert nearest future PAX here> yet?
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    <Omicron-8643><Omicron-8643> Just outside DC. Registered User regular
    If your group is familiar with Risk at all, a great game to play would be Small World. It's like Risk on steroids.

    Also, on that note, would a copy of Risk Legacy be viable to play? I've never played and have only heard about it but it seems like the kind of game that would do well with many people playing consecutively.

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    klzklz Registered User regular
    Having helped out at a couple of booths over the past couple of years, Days of Wonder (in conjunction with The Compleat Strategist) and Steve Jackson Games both have running demos throughout the con. Popular games at their booths have been Small World, Ticket To Ride, the Munchkin game family, Castellan, and the Dice Games, so you can probably get in on one of those games pretty easily.

    If you enjoy them, the Strategist will have copies of the games for both companies if possible. I say that due to the surprise and sudden shortage of Zombie Dice last year that had them run out by Saturday. Looney Labs had demos and copies of their games available at the Foam Brain Games booth and Cards Against Humanity ran out pretty quickly at their Kickstarter booth. Smirk and Dagger weren't there last year due to Easter, but they were doing rolling demos of Cutthroat Caverns at their booth in 2011.

    This doesn't even scratch the surface of what is available in the freeplay area to borrow, so depending on your schedule, you can try the official game booths for demos with the game teachers, or even approach us and just ask questions about the games at the tables, or just wander around the freeplay areas and ask people about a game they may be playing that get your attention. If you are coming in on Thursday, there are unofficial plans to get space at the Westin, SeaPort and the Marriott Long Wharf on the forums already where people are already looking to just share games with everyone.

    Don't be afraid that you need a schedule, just wander around and ask the players at a game that catches your eye for more info. The really popular games will often have multiple games going on, so it would be easy to suddenly find yourself in a game being taught.

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    Red RegexRed Regex Visioneer, Red Foe Games MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    For introducing gamers-but-not-tabletop-gamers, Race for the Galaxy is one of my favorites. Everybody I've introduced to it hates it on their first playthrough before coming to love it on their second or third. A lot of the tactics is in phase-selection similar to Puerto Rico, and once you get the hang of it the game plays very quickly.

    The balance in Race is amazing, although it's hard to notice until you've played a few times. There are several very different strategies, but almost every single time the losers were one turn away from winning. Despite scores usually being in the 20-70 range, I think I've seen it come down to a tiebreaker more often than not.


    For something lighter, last year at tabletop freeplay I discovered Alien Frontiers, which remains in my top ten list. It's what you would get if yahtzee were a cutthroat game of blocking the other players and claiming territory.

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    Red RegexRed Regex Visioneer, Red Foe Games MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    (accidental double post)

    Red Regex on
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    MaawdawgMaawdawg CT, USARegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Thanks for all the useful info everyone.

    whypick1 - I looked into Dominion and it looks fun and having a lower player# game would be nice for the weeks when we don't have our full (current) roster of 6 players, I will definitely check that out a bit more. I have never played any deck building games, to the point of just giving away my Magic packs from the 2 Easts I have been to while standing in line for the show to open, but maybe it is a good time to start.

    omicron - I am definitely familiar with Risk, it has been banned at family events for decades (overly competitive uncles :D) but we have played it in my group a couple times. I will look into Small World a bit more, I bookmarked some reviews on it to check out today. Risk Legacy does look really interesting, I would be interested to hear opinions on it as well. I almost picked it up before Christmas but skipped it because I had vanilla Risk (a late 70s version with wood pieces) that we haven't played too often yet, but the mechanics of Legacy do look cool for a group that always has the same players.

    klz - Thanks for all the tips and info. I won't be in town on Thursday and we are crashing at a cousin's place so I likely won't be headed to much at the hotels. I will get to Boston early Friday morning since I am only coming from eastern CT, 90 minutes or so away.

    Red Regex - Alien Frontiers looks interesting but I will have to bounce it off the group to see what they think. They are much more into RPG/fantasy than scifi so I don't know how often they would be asking to play that one.

    Maawdawg on
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    whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    Maawdawg wrote: »
    I have never played any deck building games, to the point of just giving away my Magic packs from the 2 Easts I have been to while standing in line for the show to open, but maybe it is a good time to start.

    Just to clarify, Magic is a Collectible Card Game (CCG), not a deck-building game. CCGs you have to buy cards that make up the deck/decks you play against other people with. These cards are yours unless you trade or sell them.

    In deck-builders you purchase a box of cards (or if you're like me, every single expansion and promo you can get your hands on) and each game you only use a subset of cards (usually a majority are randomized which compliment a fixed set used in every game) for everyone to use, and build your deck by gaining these cards. Different people will build their decks in different ways to try to win.

    Is it PAX <insert nearest future PAX here> yet?
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    MaawdawgMaawdawg CT, USARegistered User regular
    Thanks for the clarification.

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    KhadourKhadour Dinosaur Cupcake Hillsboro, ORRegistered User regular
    Tabletop at PAX East is a wonderful place - game companies running demonstration games, tournaments, a lending library with lots of room for freeplay . . . everything a growing gamer could want.

    You asked for game suggestions to get your group more into boardgames. The usual games that I recommend are:
    1) Ticket To Ride - lightweight train game that's easy enough for beginners to pick up, but involves enough planning that advanced players don't get bored.
    2) Dominion - good deckbuilding game that has been covered earlier in the thread. If you prefer a fantasy dungeon crawl motif, look into Thunderstone.
    3) Stone Age - worker placement game, with multiple paths to victory.
    4) Lords of Waterdeep - a good worker placement game wrapped in a Dungeons & Dragons wrapper.
    5) 7 Wonders - Draft mechanic card game that's good with up to 7 people.

    Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error - Linus Pauling
    xWDsUaZ.png
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    ScorpiusScorpius Registered User regular
    Games on Demand is back this year running a host of tabletop games, and many of their GMs (including myself) are perfectly happy teaching the systems. So if you liked the look of Marvel Heroic, grab your group and ask to have an experienced GoD GM run it for you. Another excellent game for people who are rusty or new is Dungeon World. Very immersive, with simple rules listed in the character sheet itself.

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    scottyb1218scottyb1218 BostonRegistered User regular
    Scorpius wrote: »
    Games on Demand is back this year running a host of tabletop games, and many of their GMs (including myself) are perfectly happy teaching the systems. So if you liked the look of Marvel Heroic, grab your group and ask to have an experienced GoD GM run it for you. Another excellent game for people who are rusty or new is Dungeon World. Very immersive, with simple rules listed in the character sheet itself.
    I'm sort of in this grouping, so I will be sure to check this out! Thanks!

    sig.php?id=222
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    MaawdawgMaawdawg CT, USARegistered User regular
    Thanks for all the great help guys, I really appreciate it. I am watching videos and checking info on all the games being posted. I can't seem to find any video reviews on Dungeon World so far (the perils of a super generic game name) but I will look around more later. Thanks for the info and offer Scorpius, only half of my game group is going to PAX but maybe we will swing by GoD and give Marvel a shot.

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    SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    Hey Maaw, welcome to the rabbit hole that is board/card gaming :)

    So, a few things.....

    -You mention your group is 6 players. There are definitely some games that support 6+ players, but many, MANY more support 4-5 (or 2-5), than 6.
    -A LOT of the games which are good for 6+ players are either "filler" games (ones that are VERY light on strategy, if they have ANY strategy at all, generally lasting 30 mins or less) or co-op games (ones where there is little, if any competition between the players, instead playing together versus "the game"). That's not a bad thing, just be ready for a lot of that with that many players.
    -If you haven't already, check out boardgamegeek.com. Basically any game you hear of is listed there, with a lot of info that will help you.
    -Just because a game says it works with 6 players does not mean it does it well. I know many games which I refuse to play with that many, because it makes for a very boring game.
    -A couple of notable exceptions to the above which aren't "too" complex and can handle that many players:
    Betrayal at the House on the Hill (a co-op game to start, loads of dice-rolling, everyone exploring the house, which is laid out differently every time, followed by someone becoming a "traitor" and the game taking a twist, a different story every time, with each side having different goals on how to win)
    7 Wonders (a drafting game, every turn, every player plays 1 card from his/her hand simultaneously, passes the hand to the person next to him/her, and plays a card from the hand they just received, and so on, so the game scales VERY well from 3-7 players, has a lot of little strategy of which cards to play to score the most points, and what to do to stop your opponents from scoring points)
    Citadels (a role-selection game, where every turn, you're picking a role, which generally breaks down to being able to do something good for yourself, being able to try to screw others, or a combo of both, trying to be the first to build a certain amount of buildings)
    The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus (A push-your-luck game where you're trying to be the one to get into a temple where the the ceiling is constantly collapsing, grab as much treasure as you can, and most importantly, get out before the ceiling fully collapses and traps you in the pyramid forever)

    Now, if you're willing to either break up into 2 groups of 3, or have more times where you have fewer than 6, I can make a LOT of suggestions, but first would like to know more about what you and your friends like. Have you played any other board games so far? What have you liked? What haven't you liked? You mention it's a lot of video gamers, are there certain types of video games they tend towards? Do you think you'd like to try games that are more light-hearted and silly (say, rolling lots of dice and/or having your fate rely on some more random cards) and have a pretty strong theme or ones which are more strategic (little to no luck in the game, more and more of what happens decided by decisions of players and less on luck), but generally a dryer theme? Shorter (around 1 hour or less)? Longer (around 2-3+ hours)?

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    MaawdawgMaawdawg CT, USARegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Normally the group is 5 right now but some weeks we have 4 or 6 (7 once), it depends on who has what going on during any given week. I don't know how people would get into split groups at this point since we have been playing only single game sessions but I can't say anyone would strongly object to it if I brought it up and we have a few people in the group who wouldn't have any problem learning rules quickly to run games if we decided to do multiple games at once in split group.

    I will definitely look into the games you posted, I am still working through info and video reviews on some of the others above. To start everyone in the group off I ran the whole 13 maps of Hero Quest (1-2 maps a session), mixing in Risk for a breath of fresh air at times. As far as the group makeup, it is pretty mixed, 2 of us are many hour a week PC/console gamers, 1 is basically mobile only, two play videogames sporadically, and one person doesn't game at all outside of our one night a week. I am the only one with any real tabletop experience, a few summers of D&D a loooong time ago. We are playing once a week at this point, but 3-4 hours when we do play, so games of pretty much any length are fine. Everyone is pretty competitive so backstab games are something I am going to want to give a shot at some point, and I am pretty confident they would give a fair shot to anything that got thrown on the table to play. Last Night on Earth has gone over pretty well so far but I don't know how many zombie games I want to throw in the mix since there are a few expansions I can get to keep this one going for a long while. Conquest style games would be alright since everyone enjoyed Risk and at some point wants to give Risk Legacy a shot. Mostly fantasy styled/dungeon styled games will be the bulk of the collection we try to put together if I had to make a guess but we will probably try to mix genres and styles to have different stuff to draw from.

    I will probably try to mix the purchases up a bit and see what sticks when we try it, maybe a few different styles/genres. Thanks for the reply.

    Maawdawg on
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    flaznarflaznar Registered User regular
    it is only 2-4 players, but Pandemic is very fun to play, slightly less expensive and is a cooperative game so you can all lose together :)

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    MaawdawgMaawdawg CT, USARegistered User regular
    I am still working my way through info on boardgamegeek and youtube vids on the suggested games, as I would rather be over-researched than under. Boardgamegeek already helped me out with some of the confusing rules from Last Night on Earth which is awesome, the instruction book for it wasn't particularly well done (imo). I do have a question now though, after showing some of the games to a few people in the group last night Munchkin, Dominion, and Cutthroat Caverns seemed to all go over well and I will likely end up picking all of those up. Considering they are games that can require repeated shuffling and heavy use of some of the cards should I just consider grabbing a ton of sleeves as well right when I get them? It seems Mayday is a (fairly) cheap place to pick them up, or would I be better off looking for them to buy at the show, since shipping seems to be half the overall cost online?

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    SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    Munchkin can be a lot of fun, as long as people enjoy the humor and play quickly. If it drags into a 2-hr game (which I've seen happen), it's AWFUL.
    Dominion was my favorite game for a LONG time, I just got burnt out on it. If you're getting just 1 set to try, I recommend getting Dominion Intrigue and not just the base set. It's MUCH more interesting cards to use and the game is 100% playable that way out of the box.

    If your group likes Risk, then I'd second a couple of things already mentioned, Risk Legacy (but as you have probably seen, you need a bit of a dedicated group to make it fun) and Small World (specifically, Small World Underground, it's a bit of an area control game like Risk, but more focused on scoring points than keeping control of areas, and has a very specific start/end time, so it doesn't last forever like Risk sometimes can).

    One other suggestion, which I admit might be a bit tougher to get your hands on, is Antike. I describe it as Risk that doesn't make you play Risk. There's no dice to roll, battles are simple "I have 5 troops, you have 4, we each lose 4 troops, I keep my 1 leftover troop there and take over the area." But you're not just trying to take over areas, you're trying to score points, which you can do through conquest, but also through building churches (which provide better defense and lets you produce more resources on at that area at the same time), though technology upgrades (which also let you do other things in the game better/faster/cheaper), and various other achievements along the way. The big other thing in the game is the action you take is decided by moving a pawn around a wheel, which limits which actions you are allowed to choose from each turn. So as much as you might like to specialize, you're forced to either generalize a little bit, or pay extra each turn to get to the action you probably would rather get to. The biggest problem with the game is it can be tough to find and if you do, not the cheapest thing in the world.

    If you're looking more towards fantasy/dungeon-games....

    I'm not a huge fan of it (in fact, I don't much like it at all, but a lot of people really do), but you might want to take a look at Thunderstone Advance. It's a deck-builder (similar to Dominion) where your choices each turn are to go to town and buy cards, just like Dominion, or go into a Dungeon and use heroes and weapons you have in your deck to fight monsters, which are how you score points). I don't like the mechanics very much, but your group might dig the theme a lot more.

    There's also Dungeon Twister (a little bit Chess-like, but very high on theme unlike Chess). The downside is that the expansion for it (which I hear makes the game a lot more fun) is very difficult to find.

    And finally, it was mentioned once already, but Lords of Waterdeep (a VERY entry-level worker-placement game, in the D&D "universe," a bit simpler than I generally like, but I know a lot of people who REALLY dig it, and it plays especially well with people newer to board games since it's not very difficult, mechanically).


    Hopefully, that helps you at least get started. :)

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    CreamsteakCreamsteak Thrall Registered User regular
    You should definitely play at least one deck building game (dominion), one economic game (Power Grid/Puerto Rico), and one tile-placement game (Carcasonne), and some secret information player elimination game (Mafia/Werewolf/Shadow Hunters) given the opportunity.

    I also think if you have a consistent group of five, something like Risk Legacy is pretty awesome. Lords of Waterdeep is pretty fun from my couple plays. If you liked the original Hero Quest, you may want to try Descent: Journeys in the Dark. Kingdom Builder, Settlers of Catan, Bohnanza, Shadow Hunters, and Small World all get played at my monthly game nights fairly often.

    Eclipse is one of my favorites, but it's really not that easy to play at table-top free-play. It takes a long time, but it's quite a bit like a 4x computer game in condensed board game form.

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    MaawdawgMaawdawg CT, USARegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Sorry in advance for the longwinded post and the tendency to overthink and try to overprepare. :P

    Thanks for all the input, I have a lot of those games on my radar already. Munchkin is definitely on the buy list, it looks like we could have fun with it. I will definitely check out Dominion Intrigue in comparison to Dominion as it looks like I will be grabbing one from that catalog for sure. I need to do more research on Small World but it seems to pop up in a lot of top 10 lists and recommendations. For us Risk can drag at times so it may be a good replacement rather than getting into Legacy. I had been looking at Thunderstone and will have to look at the differences between the original box and whatever Advance is. I just don't know if I will pick up multiple deck build games right away because I haven't tested to see if people in the group like them, so dropping a big chunk on a game genre I could end up shelving wouldn't be smart. I'll probably end up skipping Dungeon Twister since it is straight 2 player. Lords of Waterdeep is in my list to research already as well.

    Right now it is looking like Munchkin and maybe 1 expansion for it right away, a Dominion game, and Cutthroat Caverns are all going to be definite buy, with a whole list of other stuff to look deeper into still. I am going to try to keep this round of purchases around $200ish I think, including whatever added stuff I need like sleeves and whatnot. There are a couple other people from the group going who may buy something or kick in, and also others in the group who aren't attending will probably just kick a bit of cash my way and that would increase the budget as well, since I am kind of "the guy that brings the games" as it stands now.

    A lot of what I buy will probably depend on how things work with vendors and such at East itself. I am still pretty unclear if people have retail style booths or anything or how prices would compare to driving to my (semi-local) tabletop store or buying off the 'net. I guess other things will also come into play if purchasing there ends up the better option, because I know when I did trade shows Sunday was the day to aim at buying because vendors just don't want to repack and carry/ship stuff home at times so you had a bit more of an edge in haggling at that point. (Do people even haggle there?) As a whole, I could be playing a lot of it by ear when I get there and just trying to get the best bang for my buck. I really wish I had paid more attention to the tabletop side the past couple years but with only one day and having so much I wanted to see on the videogame side we just rushed past it. With 3 days this year, and with what seems to be less major stuff on the gaming side (since I am guessing much of the major videogame stuff will be held to E3) I am certain to spend a good portion of my time cruising the tabletop side this year.

    Thanks again for all the help. I have a ton of reading up and video watching to do to get an idea of what to try to play and target for purchase. The more I learn now and the more info I get on what additional stuff I should buy (sleeves, etc) and how vending and prices are at the show things will continue to come into better focus. As it stands now I have a much clearer picture than I did even a few days ago, which is great.

    EDIT: Descent: Journeys in the dark is definitely on my radar after seeing it on a few recommended lists, if it plays even somewhat similar to Hero Quest I am sure the group would get way into it. One of my uncles may have a box of Settlers of Catan stashed in an attic somewhere, it was brought out when they had game nights ages ago so I may ask around for that.

    Maawdawg on
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    Red RegexRed Regex Visioneer, Red Foe Games MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    The prices I've seen from tabletop vendors at East have been basically normal FLGS prices (which I guess makes sense as several of the vendors actually are FLGS). You might find some bargains Sunday from some of the non-local vendors, but you also run the risk of more popular things being out of stock.

    Especially for someone interested in learning what's out there, you name it and you'll probably be able to try it (and most likely buy it somewhere there as well). There are virtually constant demos all over the place, and in my experience the tabletop lending library has been impressively well-stocked. If you went down the list of 100 most popular games on boardgamegeek, I'd be willing to bet that most of them have at least one copy available for free play.

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    the_fuzzy_penguinthe_fuzzy_penguin OhioRegistered User regular
    Maawdawg wrote: »
    Right now it is looking like Munchkin and maybe 1 expansion for it right away, a Dominion game, and Cutthroat Caverns are all going to be definite buy, with a whole list of other stuff to look deeper into still.
    Unfortunately the group I game with just started playing tabletops about a year ago (if not less than that), so I didn't spend a lot of time at the tabletop section of PAX when I went in 2011 and can't answer a lot of your other questions. This year I'm super excited for it to come and am sure I'll spend quite a bit of time there as opposed to randomly wandering the hall. Coming from someone who more recently got into gaming, I can tell you that at least one of those three games gets pulled out every time we get together. If you enjoy co-op games then I would strongly suggest Cutthroat (it's the first tabletop we started with); what is more fun than working together to succeed while at the same time screwing each other over to ensure you are the winner?

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    SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    For the people who like Thunderstone, all say Advance was just an improvement on the original. I honestly couldn't tell you the exact difference, I'm just told it's better.

    Dungeon Twister, if you can manage to get the expansion for cheap, plays 4 players. You might just want to keep it in the back of your mind in case you stumble on it, or they reprint the expansion.

    For Munchkin, I can't recommend one expansion to get (I've bought so many of them over the years, they sort of blend together), but I'd say tend towards the first 1-2 (So Munchkin 2 or 3), as those generally add cards which help fill out the game some, without introducing a bunch of extra mechanics (4 adds in Steeds, 6 Dungeons, etc.). The big one is I'd say to avoid 6 (Demented Dungeons) as that puts people in different rooms in-game and less chances to help/hurt each other. I played it a couple of times and to date, it's the only one I then packed back up and traded away. Beyond that, there are a billion different types, I'd personally say for your group, stick to the original, as the jokes will be more towards the D&D/fantasy crowd, so your friends will probably appreciate them more.

    And sleeves.....I'd recommend them for games where you will shuffle a lot (for instance, any deck-builder) as the cards will wear down pretty quickly. For games that don't require shuffling, it's up to you, I wouldn't kill yourself over it, as long as your group is generally careful about their cards.

    As for how/where to buy, there's 2 options which really make sense:

    1) Support your FLGS or vendors at a con like PAX. Buy local, keep shops like that in business, and hopefully as a result have a place to play and/or more players.
    2) Shop online, spend about 60% of what you would in a shop, generally have better selection, but have to either pay for shipping or hit a certain total in your order (usually $100-150) for free shipping and, either way, have to wait for the games to be shipped and potentially have to deal with shipping issues/damages.

    There is a third option, but I honestly see no reason to go with it:

    3) Buy games at a big box retailer such as Barns and Noble or Target. Games will generally be priced at MSRP, people running the stores will normally know little to nothing about the games, very small chance of there being a place to play, and no real promotion of the hobby as a whole.

    I'll say personally, I tend towards #2, but I've been playing more recently with a group at a FLGS near where I work, and I plan on going in there tonight and picking up a game, even though it's a bit more, to support them, get it now, and not have to wait. I don't want to start an argument over which is the "right" way to do things, just realize that no matter the choice, there's some consequences.

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    MaawdawgMaawdawg CT, USARegistered User regular
    Yeah, I will probably look to play games if I decide I like something I will have internet prices noted , then if a vendor there is anywhere semi-close to that I'll just buy it there and support them for being at the show. My "local" tabletop shops are 30-35 miles away in opposite directions so I would be driving way out of the way to pay more to go that route. If prices seem drastically more at the show it seems like I would probably end up just deciding what I want there and then coming home to put in a big order at Amazon or something.

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    CreamsteakCreamsteak Thrall Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    It occurs to me now that I should have mentioned on my enforcer app that I run monthly board game nights in my town and let people free-play from my collection. :P Funny what you forget out of context.

    Notably there was a copy of Risk Legacy at Prime Free Play. I was really confused by this and asked questions to the table-top crew about if the person that had donated it realized the consequences. I'm still uncertain on what happened with that. It was either the coolest idea (let random paxers dictate the gradual board changes) or someone's oversight (oh noes, they ruined my board and everything has horrible names).

    Creamsteak on
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    jack21222jack21222 Registered User regular
    If you're up for a longer game, try Arkham Horror. This is my first PAX, so I don't know if they have a demo there, but I love the game. Expect your first playthrough to take 4-5 hours as you learn the rules, but I can usually knock a game out in ~3 hours.

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    treezatreeza Registered User regular
    Red Regex wrote: »
    Especially for someone interested in learning what's out there, you name it and you'll probably be able to try it (and most likely buy it somewhere there as well). There are virtually constant demos all over the place, and in my experience the tabletop lending library has been impressively well-stocked. If you went down the list of 100 most popular games on boardgamegeek, I'd be willing to bet that most of them have at least one copy available for free play.

    I am excited about this! I went to my first PAX East last year and I was curious about the tabletop area, but felt very lost and overwhelmed when walking through it. I wasn't sure if it was all freeplay, or if there were sessions you were supposed to sign up for somewhere, or where people got their games from, or if people just sat down with their friends, or if there was an instructor at each table... I think there was also a lineup for some D&D stuff. I didn't know where to start, and I didn't want to interfere or get in the way, so being the wimp that I am, I just fled the area. :oops:

    I really want to learn some new games this year, so I am going to be brave and get all up in someone's business and ask them to help me figure it out this time (in a nice way). >_<

    This thread is encouraging. (*)

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    SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    treeza wrote: »
    I am excited about this! I went to my first PAX East last year and I was curious about the tabletop area, but felt very lost and overwhelmed when walking through it. I wasn't sure if it was all freeplay, or if there were sessions you were supposed to sign up for somewhere, or where people got their games from, or if people just sat down with their friends, or if there was an instructor at each table... I think there was also a lineup for some D&D stuff. I didn't know where to start, and I didn't want to interfere or get in the way, so being the wimp that I am, I just fled the area. :oops:

    I really want to learn some new games this year, so I am going to be brave and get all up in someone's business and ask them to help me figure it out this time (in a nice way). >_<

    This thread is encouraging. (*)

    If you see people starting to play something, just say, "hey, what's that?" and if the answer is something that sounds interesting, say, "do you have room for another?" If the answer is "no," then next table, GoTo 0. Simple enough? :)

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    JerYnkFanJerYnkFan Registered User regular
    Last year was my first PAX east and I spent alot of my time in the Freeplay area. Got to try some games for the first time including Shadowrun, Miskatonic School for Girls, and playtested Zpocalypse which I wound up ordering on Kickstarter. I also played at the D&D beginner's table. I think there is a twitter feed for tabletop games that people post to.

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    treezatreeza Registered User regular
    Schmulki wrote: »

    If you see people starting to play something, just say, "hey, what's that?" and if the answer is something that sounds interesting, say, "do you have room for another?" If the answer is "no," then next table, GoTo 0. Simple enough? :)
    Hahaha, yes, that sounds manageable! Is there also a game library there that I can browse, and then ask someone to teach me how to play, or take it back to a table with some friends? I think last year I was confused and thought all the tables with games on them were vendors and I was too shy to ask questions. Do vendors run tutorials?

    JerYnkFan wrote: »
    Last year was my first PAX east and I spent alot of my time in the Freeplay area. Got to try some games for the first time including Shadowrun, Miskatonic School for Girls, and playtested Zpocalypse which I wound up ordering on Kickstarter. I also played at the D&D beginner's table. I think there is a twitter feed for tabletop games that people post to.
    Cool! I want this! I wouldn't mind trying a D&D beginner's table. Was there an experienced DM at your beginner table? Or was everyone a beginner?

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    whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    treeza wrote: »
    Hahaha, yes, that sounds manageable! Is there also a game library there that I can browse, and then ask someone to teach me how to play, or take it back to a table with some friends? I think last year I was confused and thought all the tables with games on them were vendors and I was too shy to ask questions. Do vendors run tutorials?

    There is a Tabletop Library that is full of games you can check out that is staffed by Enforcers. From there, you (and presumably your group) take the game to an available table and start playing.

    There are both FLGS and board game makers that have vendor booths in the TT area. The latter would be the ones that would be running demos most likely. Either way, don't be afraid to ask.

    Is it PAX <insert nearest future PAX here> yet?
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    treezatreeza Registered User regular
    whypick1 wrote: »
    There is a Tabletop Library that is full of games you can check out that is staffed by Enforcers. From there, you (and presumably your group) take the game to an available table and start playing.

    There are both FLGS and board game makers that have vendor booths in the TT area. The latter would be the ones that would be running demos most likely. Either way, don't be afraid to ask.

    Thanks! That is awesome. I am looking forward to this even more now that I'm getting a better idea of how things work. Yay!! ^__^

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    ScorpiusScorpius Registered User regular
    If you're interested in D&D, WotC will be on hand running official games. For the past two PAXEasts they've had a very simple, show up and get in line system. I've run Learn to Play in the past for them at PAXEast. It's a great way to be introduced to the game.

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    treezatreeza Registered User regular
    Scorpius wrote: »
    If you're interested in D&D, WotC will be on hand running official games. For the past two PAXEasts they've had a very simple, show up and get in line system. I've run Learn to Play in the past for them at PAXEast. It's a great way to be introduced to the game.

    That sounds good! I think I'll get in line for that. Thanks~!

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    MaawdawgMaawdawg CT, USARegistered User regular
    edited February 2013
    I am still working through all the games posted here and have been trying to just break everything into levels of interest at first just to start narrowing down. Kind of "definitely buy, probably buy soon, maybe buy at some point, and not a good fit". I discussed a lot of the games with my group and showed some on youtube last night before (and while) playing a couple scenarios in Last Night on Earth. Pandemic and Descent have joined Munchkin, Cutthroat, and Dominion towards the top of the ranks, those now seem to be the leaders interest-wise but there were a mess of games that people want to give a shot. That is good because it looks like selections could be from anywhere, but problematic because it makes choosing from the giant buffet harder.

    EDIT: I just looked around and apparently Pandemic is coming out with a new 2nd Edition with new art/board and classes this month. The new version also raises the player cap to 5, which is a bonus. Looks like I will be adding that to the buy list for sure.

    Maawdawg on
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    xipetotecxipetotec Registered User regular

    I've got a question. My brother and I are both quite shy "socially awkward penguin". I know we're not alone BUT I'm not really sure how the freeplay area works as far as joining other players. ( We'll just be down the two of us ). Is there a signup sheet? Or somewhere to talk to folks to play?

    This is how sad/bad it is. We last went to Pax east two years ago. Walked through the freeplay area. Looks cool and all... but basically then left cause we're too shy to talk/ask about anything :)

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    ScorpiusScorpius Registered User regular
    I need to correct something I said earlier. The signup emails for D&D Volunteers have gone out. Learn to play D&D 4e is not on the schedule. In fact it does not appear that there will be any official D&D 4e events.

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    SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    xipetotec wrote: »
    I've got a question. My brother and I are both quite shy "socially awkward penguin". I know we're not alone BUT I'm not really sure how the freeplay area works as far as joining other players. ( We'll just be down the two of us ). Is there a signup sheet? Or somewhere to talk to folks to play?

    This is how sad/bad it is. We last went to Pax east two years ago. Walked through the freeplay area. Looks cool and all... but basically then left cause we're too shy to talk/ask about anything :)

    There's some tables, there's volunteers to check things out from and I'm pretty sure YMMV on them being able to help much with setting things up. There's generally a good deal of people mulling around picking out a game/looking at the games, and the best ways you get to play the games with others are:
    -Asking those people what they're going to play and if they have extra space
    -Picking out a game and then either asking around, calling out, or just setting it up, and seeing if others join
    -Walking around and see random people starting to set up a game and asking if they have space and mind if you join

    There's of course some demos and things being run by companies where you walk up and there's some kind of friendly person there looking to teach you a game, and you don't need to be very social for that.

    But honestly, PAX is a very friendly place. We're all there to have fun the same as you are and probably would be happy to play a game with a couple of socially awkward penguins (esp if you have friendship bracelets like the ones at the zoo). You just have to temporarily be !shy.

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    KhadourKhadour Dinosaur Cupcake Hillsboro, ORRegistered User regular
    xipetotec wrote: »
    I've got a question. My brother and I are both quite shy "socially awkward penguin". I know we're not alone BUT I'm not really sure how the freeplay area works as far as joining other players. ( We'll just be down the two of us ). Is there a signup sheet? Or somewhere to talk to folks to play?

    This is how sad/bad it is. We last went to Pax east two years ago. Walked through the freeplay area. Looks cool and all... but basically then left cause we're too shy to talk/ask about anything :)

    As said above, PAX is an exceptionally friendly place. That being said, I will be hanging out in tabletop a fair amount this year with several of my friends, and will be more than happy to play some games with you guys if you are looking for people to play with - might be easier for you if you have something set up in advance to break the ice. PM me if you would like!

    Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error - Linus Pauling
    xWDsUaZ.png
    jswidget.php?username=cmdour&numitems=5&header=1&text=none&images=small&show=recentplays&imagesonly=1&imagepos=right&inline=1&domains%5B%5D=boardgame&imagewidget=1

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    APacManAPacMan Philadelphia, PARegistered User regular
    I've found that anything shown on "TableTop" (on the Geek & Sundry website) is a fun game, and are usually VERY easy to learn. Just watching an episode is a fun, entertaining way of learning a new game without buying it or pretending to be a swifter while your more experienced friends mop the floor with you, "teacher" style. They're also fast enough that you don't feel like you wasted your PAX time if you didn't enjoy it.

    I'd really like to see / partake in a game of Chaos of the Old World (Warhammer), or a session of Dresden Files - RPG (Both more time consuming than the Geek & Sundry / TableTop games). Those have been on my list to try for a while, but being so specific to their setting it can be tough to get a group together.

    We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true. -Robert Wilensky

    Twitter: @APacManSays
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    klzklz Registered User regular
    xipetotec wrote: »
    I've got a question. My brother and I are both quite shy "socially awkward penguin". I know we're not alone BUT I'm not really sure how the freeplay area works as far as joining other players. ( We'll just be down the two of us ). Is there a signup sheet? Or somewhere to talk to folks to play?

    This is how sad/bad it is. We last went to Pax East two years ago. Walked through the freeplay area. Looks cool and all... but basically then left cause we're too shy to talk/ask about anything :)

    I've helped all three Pax Easts at a couple of the official demo booths, and you can always ask if a game is about to start or close enough to starting to join in and be taught the game. For the freeplay tables, I've found people don't mind if you walk up and ask if there is still room, but the main areas by Game Salute, The Compleat Strategist, Steve Jackson Games and the other booths around the front of the tabletop area will be filled with official demo people you can ask for demos of the games.

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