As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

Looking for advice about good, playable board games.

Patrick RothfussPatrick Rothfuss Registered User
edited April 2007 in Critical Failures
After years of going without, I finally have a group of local friends who enjoy playing board games.

The problem is, I've been out of the loop for about 8-9 years, and most of the people I'm playing with are new to the board game scene. Does anyone out there have any reccomendations for entertaining, re-playable games? It sucks wasting 45 bucks and 2-4 hours trying to play a game before you realize that the thing's main selling point is the art on the outside of the box.

I can see that there are some threads on this subject already, but most of them seem to be talking about specific types of board games. I'm looking for any sort of non-rollplaying tabletop game, so long as it's good. Anything from simple and fun (Lunch Money) to long and complicated (Civ).

All I really care about is that the game playable and fun.

I'll start out with a few of the obvious ones that even I'm aware of.

Settlers of Catan.

1-2 hours.
3-4 people. (3-6 with the expansion)

Good points: Very easy to learn. Very replayable. Relatively cheap.

Brief Description: Strategy and resource management. No combat.


Robo Rally.

3-4 hours.
2-8 players.

Good points. Very replayable. Many variant modes of play that don't require buying expansions.

Downsides: Game can get very long with multiple players. Moderately difficult for new players to learn.

Brief Description: Strategy. Racing and Combat.


Alright, let's have it. What are your favorite games?

"THE NAME OF THE WIND has everything fantasy readers like, magic and mysteries and ancient evil, but it's also humorous and terrifying and completely believable."
--Tad Williams

"THE NAME OF THE WIND marks the debut of a writer we would all do well to watch. Patrick Rothfuss has real talent, and his tale of Kvothe is deep and intricate and wondrous."
--Terry Brooks

http://nameofthewind.com/
Patrick Rothfuss on

Posts

  • BitstreamBitstream Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Betrayal at House on the Hill.

    1-2 hours
    3-6 people, more is better.

    If you and your buddies like old B-grade horror flicks (and honestly, who doesn't?), you'll have a lot of fun playing through some classic plots. You and your friends have become stranded in a creepy mansion, and you explore until the Haunt is revealed and one of you turns traitor. There are fifty haunts, and they're randomly chosen each time.

    It's got some rules issues, but they've been corrected online, and the scenarios are all balanced for a full six players so some can be overly hard for a smaller group. It's also sort of out of print at the moment, so it can be hard to find. I think I heard Hasbro's thinking about a reprint, though - someone straighten me out on that one. It's fairly plain out of the box, but gets cooler the more you put into it; I'm in the middle of collecting minis for the game to replace most of the cardstock chits, and it's way scarier being chased by a giant plastic spider than a token with SPIDER printed on it.

    Anyway, kickass game.

    I also enjoy Carcassonne (by the same company as Settlers, btw), but I've only played it a couple times and there are people here much better suited to talk about it.

    Bitstream on
  • cytorakcytorak Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Ticket to Ride

    30 minutes to 1.5 Hours
    2 to 5 players

    You're a railroad tycoon, and you must connect various U.S. cities with your railroads. You draw Destination tickets that show you what cities you must connect. Connect the cities and earn the points on the ticket. Fail to connect those cities, and get docked those points. Whoever gets the most points at the end of the game wins.

    It's easy to learn, but it involves a lot of strategy. If you can read, count, and tell the difference between colors (or shapes, for color-blind folks like myself), you can and WILL enjoy the game. I have yet to play with a person who has not liked this game. TTR: Europe adds more depth, but it could be overwhelming if you start with that version.

    cytorak on
  • Patrick RothfussPatrick Rothfuss Registered User
    edited April 2007
    cytorak wrote: »
    Ticket to Ride

    30 minutes to 1.5 Hours
    2 to 5 players

    It's easy to learn, but it involves a lot of strategy. If you can read, count, and tell the difference between colors (or shapes, for color-blind folks like myself), you can and WILL enjoy the game. I have yet to play with a person who has not liked this game. TTR: Europe adds more depth, but it could be overwhelming if you start with that version.

    I've done rail games before, but haven't heard of/played this one. How would you compare it to, say, Iron Dragon, or Nippon Rail? Have you played any of those? Those games tend to be closer to 2-3 hours and I'll admit I have trouble thinking of finishing a whole rail game in 30 minutes....

    Patrick Rothfuss on
    "THE NAME OF THE WIND has everything fantasy readers like, magic and mysteries and ancient evil, but it's also humorous and terrifying and completely believable."
    --Tad Williams

    "THE NAME OF THE WIND marks the debut of a writer we would all do well to watch. Patrick Rothfuss has real talent, and his tale of Kvothe is deep and intricate and wondrous."
    --Terry Brooks

    http://nameofthewind.com/
  • MasterDebaterMasterDebater Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Carcassone

    30 min-1 hr
    2-5 players

    Great game in the same vein as Settlers of Catan (no combat, players competing for resources). It's pretty easy to learn, and once everyone has the rules down, you can finish even a five player game in 45 min or so. Because it's so short, I find it's better as a kind of 'warm-up'.

    Axis and Allies

    2 hr-all night
    2-5 players

    If you have, say, 8 hours to kill, this is the game for you. World War II strategy game, takes a game or two to get the hang of, but can be really fun if you've got a group of people willing to (a) put time limits on turns or (b) spend a good portion of the day playing.

    MasterDebater on
    ZeroZero wrote:
    Rule 645: You can not add "core" the end of a word and call it a metal genre
    Fuck you, country-core is awesome.
  • AnakinOUAnakinOU Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    TtR is NOT a "rail" game. It's a set-collection (Rummy-esque), route building game. And it's way fun and easy. It's been THE default "gateway" game for nongamers to get into the hobby for the past 3 years or so.

    AnakinOU on
  • Patrick RothfussPatrick Rothfuss Registered User
    edited April 2007
    AnakinOU wrote: »
    TtR is NOT a "rail" game. It's a set-collection (Rummy-esque), route building game. And it's way fun and easy. It's been THE default "gateway" game for nongamers to get into the hobby for the past 3 years or so.

    Ahhh... I see. That makes better sense. I'll still give it a try. I can use more gateway games....

    Patrick Rothfuss on
    "THE NAME OF THE WIND has everything fantasy readers like, magic and mysteries and ancient evil, but it's also humorous and terrifying and completely believable."
    --Tad Williams

    "THE NAME OF THE WIND marks the debut of a writer we would all do well to watch. Patrick Rothfuss has real talent, and his tale of Kvothe is deep and intricate and wondrous."
    --Terry Brooks

    http://nameofthewind.com/
  • TiemlerTiemler Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Acquire (Avalon Hill) is good fun, as well.

    In my experience, Axis & Allies is enjoyable if played one of two ways.

    1) With a group of players all about the same novice level, where people don't just churn out infantry and storm Karelia. If there's an advanced A&A player in the group, he should really just help teach people the game mechanics, and not play one of the countries or coach the players on strategy.

    2) Head to head, giving the Axis player five or six extra infantry units in Eastern Europe at the start of the game. You can go to the trouble of 'bidding' instead, or select a different placement for the bid units, but bear in mind, the setup described above has been found to even out the win ratio to about 50/50, truly balancing the game. Even then, most games still feel kind of mechanical, but there are more of those cool, desperate struggles where the decisive battles happen in unlikely places.

    Settlers of Catan is cool, but half the time when I see it being played these days, the Seafarers expansion is being used, which overly complicates the game, IMO.

    Starfarers of Catan is awesome, though. I like the way it rewards players who pull off daring rescues, blast pirates into space dust, and seek out alien civilizations. Really evokes the space opera feel.

    Tiemler on
  • BitstreamBitstream Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Tiemler wrote: »
    Settlers of Catan is cool, but half the time when I see it being played these days, the Seafarers expansion is being used, which overly complicates the game, IMO.
    When my group plays Settlers, we do it on the biggest rectangular map with both expansions, having worked up to it over a year or two. Last time we played, we had two newbies and didn't realize just how complicated it gets until they both sort of froze up and eventually dropped out. I felt like a jackass.

    So yeah, Settlers gets ridiculously complex if you let it.

    Bitstream on
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited April 2007
    Apples to Apples
    Type: word game, party game
    Difficulty: casual
    Length: any
    Players: 3+

    One of the best casual party/word games ever. It's really simple: everyone gets red cards with nouns on them - "the Pyramids", "Samuel L. Jackson", "my butt", whatever. The judge sets out a green card with an adjective - "shiny", "awesome", "slow", whatever, and the players put down the cards they think best describe it. Whichever one the judge picks (according to whatever criteria he wants) wins the round, then the guy to the left becomes judge. It's as short or as long as you want, completely newb-friendly, and guaranteed hilarious. Add alcohol for bonus fun.

    Heroscape
    Type: War/Miniatures
    Difficulty: moderate
    Length: 1-2 hrs
    Players: 2-4 (more with expansions)


    From the makers of the late lamented HeroQuest and Battle Masters! Heroscape is basically Warhammer without all the painting and bankruptcy. The idea is that great warriors from all times and dimensions have been summoned to Valhalla to fight an unending war. You assemble the 3-D board from a huge array of stackable terrain pieces to create mountains, canyons, rivers, etc.

    The board:
    800px-HeroscapeGame.jpg

    Players pick their miniatures up to an agreed point value, and then everyone goes nuts trying to kill each other. It's easy to learn and ludicrously fun; seriously, there's nothing like having a squad of Vikings led by a WWII sergeant charging a giant mech, while on the other side of the board some cowboys and ninjas are fighting an orc riding a Tyrannosaurus. The master set is only like $25 at Wal-Mart and they make a ton (like, a ton) of expansions - both new terrain (castle, lava, bridge, snow) and new dudes (zombies, robots, Greeks, aliens...).

    Twilight Imperium
    Type: Space Strategy/War
    Difficulty: Hardcore
    Length: 3-5 hours
    Players: 3-6 (up to 8 with the expansion)

    It's Master of Orion: The Game, basically: the galactic empire ruled by the all-powerful Lazax race has splintered, and now six races battle for political, economic, and military supremacy. The galaxy is assembled by the players from cards at the start of the game, so it's always (mostly) random. Here's the board:
    FUCK YEAH.

    800px-Shattered_empire.jpg

    It's big and hardcore and intimidating but here's the thing: it's really playable, too. Rounds are broken up into sub-phases where players each take one small action (moving a unit, playing a card) so you don't get that stupid b.s. of one guy sitting there taking a half hour to make up his mind. There's always something going on that you've got a stake in, so it's always involving. The object of the game is to be the first player to score ten victory points; points are earned by fulfilling Objectives - both public objectives, which are drawn from a communal deck and usually involve things like researching certain techs or spending a certain amount of money, and secret objectives, which grant bigger rewards but usually involve controlling specific strategic planets or wormhole gates. There's interstellar trade, a galactic council to make laws, lots of intrigue and dicking each other over - or, if you prefer the direct approach, you can stomp on your enemies with battlefleets or even the Death Star (er, excuse me, "dread sphere"). Basically it's like playing the Foundation books. I love it so. And the expansion makes it even better.

    Jacobkosh on
    rRwz9.gif
  • GrundlterrorGrundlterror Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Bitstream wrote: »
    Betrayal at House on the Hill.

    1-2 hours
    3-6 people, more is better.

    If you and your buddies like old B-grade horror flicks (and honestly, who doesn't?), you'll have a lot of fun playing through some classic plots. You and your friends have become stranded in a creepy mansion, and you explore until the Haunt is revealed and one of you turns traitor. There are fifty haunts, and they're randomly chosen each time.

    It's got some rules issues, but they've been corrected online, and the scenarios are all balanced for a full six players so some can be overly hard for a smaller group. It's also sort of out of print at the moment, so it can be hard to find. I think I heard Hasbro's thinking about a reprint, though - someone straighten me out on that one. It's fairly plain out of the box, but gets cooler the more you put into it; I'm in the middle of collecting minis for the game to replace most of the cardstock chits, and it's way scarier being chased by a giant plastic spider than a token with SPIDER printed on it.

    Anyway, kickass game.

    I also enjoy Carcassonne (by the same company as Settlers, btw), but I've only played it a couple times and there are people here much better suited to talk about it.

    Betrayal is probably my favorite game, I enjoy it so much..... I was able to get it about two months ago easily off Amazon.com, so I don't think it's too hard to find and definitely worth it. Make sure to print out the new survival guides (scenario books) and the FAQ/errata. I highly recommend trying it.

    As for other games, here are a few that my friends and I enjoy:

    Bang! - Bang is a card game (best for 7 people, although very enjoyable with 4+... but preferably at least 5) where each player is dealt a role in the wild west. The roles passed out are Sheriff, Deputy, Outlaw and Renegade. Only the sheriff flips over his card and reveals his role to the rest of the players. The rest of the players duke it out (with different win conditions... Outlaw has to kill sheriff, sheriff and deputy have to kill outlaw, renegade has to kill everyone) while trying to convince that it's in their best interest not to kill them (although it usually ends up with everyone trying to convince the sheriff that they are one of his deputies). The mechanics of the game itself are quite fun too, but the best part is trying to figure out exactly who everyone is. (I know this isn't a real board game, but I highly recommend it anyway).

    Puerto Rico - This is a really fun game where each round you choose a role (first player gets first pick, and then so on) that determines what you do for that round and the order that you do it in. You start off with a mat that has places for factories and plantations and you must buy factories with money and have plantations to produce goods and you also must manage workers. Once you are able to produce a crop, you can load up a boat (there are three boats.. plus later in the game you can buy a personal wharf) with your goods and each boat can only hold one kind of good. The strategy gets interesting when you have to block other people from getting goods on to the boats while making sure you don't have any left over at the end of a round either.. because all of your goods but one single crop will get discarded (unless you have bought a warehouse to prevent against that).

    Other games I recommend (sorry, too tired to type out descriptions): Power Grid, Arkham Horror, Family Business, Nuclear War, The Lord of the Rings, Tigris and Euphrates, Caylus, El Grande, Ticket to Ride (as mentioned), Colossal Arena, Modern Art and Wits and Wagers (which is like a trivia game with betting mixed with the price is right).

    Grundlterror on
    steam_sig.png
  • winterwitchwinterwitch Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Settlers of Catan.... Awesome game

    Any Cheapass Game and yes its called Cheapass their zombie games are sooo much fun..

    MUNCHKIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its like a board game/card game thats cut throat!!!!!! HUzzzaH!

    winterwitch on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Mmmmmm...Gackt-licious
  • GrundlterrorGrundlterror Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Settlers of Catan.... Awesome game

    Any Cheapass Game and yes its called Cheapass their zombie games are sooo much fun..

    MUNCHKIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its like a board game/card game thats cut throat!!!!!! HUzzzaH!

    I played a couple of those cheapass games... they are a lot of fun! I played this one where Frankenstein comes to town or something and everyone wants to make their own Frankenstein and you have to put things up for auction and people will buy them based on price and demand. I also played a game called Lord of the Fries where you have to make fast food orders with the cards you have.

    Grundlterror on
    steam_sig.png
  • UndefinedMonkeyUndefinedMonkey Registered User
    edited April 2007
    The Big Idea

    Type: word game, bidding
    Length: about an hour
    Difficulty: dead easy

    Combine the words in your hand to form revolutionary new products: erotic doll cannon, cast-iron puppy grill, sport utility shovel, wet/dry sex vacuum, horseless gazeebo, etc... Then, formulate a small sales pitch for your opponents; bullshit, bluffing, marketing lingo, and blatant innuendo are encouraged. When all the products have been pitched, everyone has the opportunity to invest. After investment, players roll a dice to see what projects pay off and the process repeats. This is an amazingly fun game with the right group. If you like Apples to Apples and Once Upon a Time, you'll like this.

    Pros: fast, easy to pick up, and fun even if you don't win.
    Cons: sometimes you have to come up for a sales pitch for the beautiful alien flag, or the industrial-strength piggy bank. And sometimes the investing world just doesn't see the benefit in flammable sushi.

    The Great Dalmuti

    Type: card, opponent abuse
    Length: hands take about five minutes, games last as long as you want
    Difficulty: easy to pick up, allows for simple strategy and evil buggery

    A more family-friendly version of Presidents and Assholes. The Greater and Lesser Dalmutis tax the peasants, the merchants trade amongst themselves, and everyone picks on the Greater Peon. The Dalmuti can enact bizarre rules (the merchants may trade amongst themselves, provided they speak in haiku), the Greater Peon does all menial tasks (shuffling, dealing, and "scraping" finished hands off the table.) One of the most unfair card games in existance... it's very difficult to dig yourself out of the hole once you become Greater Peon, since you have to give your two best cards to the Dalmuti. Still, it's a good end to an evening. After a long game of Caylus or Twilight Imperium, it's nice to just throw some cards down and yell at people for a while.

    Pros: one of the few games I know of that actually encourages the abuse of the person in last place
    Cons: sometimes you end up in last place...

    UndefinedMonkey on
    This space intentionally left blank.
  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    I have only heard good things about Puerto Rico and I intend to add it to my collection toot-sweet.

    Squashua on
  • Patrick RothfussPatrick Rothfuss Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Settlers of Catan.... Awesome game

    Any Cheapass Game and yes its called Cheapass their zombie games are sooo much fun..

    MUNCHKIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its like a board game/card game thats cut throat!!!!!! HUzzzaH!

    I played a couple of those cheapass games... they are a lot of fun! I played this one where Frankenstein comes to town or something and everyone wants to make their own Frankenstein and you have to put things up for auction and people will buy them based on price and demand. I also played a game called Lord of the Fries where you have to make fast food orders with the cards you have.

    I dunno. I've been a fan of cheapass for years and years. I actually started playing them WAY back in the day. around 1994, when they were pretty new to the scene.

    A few of them, like kill doctor lucky and witch trial, have good replay value. But the vast majority are usually good for one or two games before they're all played out.

    Don't get me wrong, I've got a drawerful. And for the price, if you play them twice they've paid for themselves and they're a good value. But most of them are more like novelties more than really solid playable games.

    Am I alone in this?

    Patrick Rothfuss on
    "THE NAME OF THE WIND has everything fantasy readers like, magic and mysteries and ancient evil, but it's also humorous and terrifying and completely believable."
    --Tad Williams

    "THE NAME OF THE WIND marks the debut of a writer we would all do well to watch. Patrick Rothfuss has real talent, and his tale of Kvothe is deep and intricate and wondrous."
    --Terry Brooks

    http://nameofthewind.com/
  • AnakinOUAnakinOU Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Nope. Cheapass games are typically heavy on theme/humor, but lack engaging gameplay.

    I've had fun playing (and replaying) Deadwood, Big Idea, and Light Speed, though. Especially Light Speed. Crazy fun in that game.

    AnakinOU on
  • Dr. FaceDr. Face King of Pants Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    OMEGA VIRUS - though admitedly it is not easy to find. Luckily I got this when I was a kid and it first came out. I only fear the day when the electronic component gives out and I don't get to hear the virus taunt me anymore.

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/3086

    Others popular at my house (my wife is not a "board game" person, but she likes these anyway).

    Carcassone
    Settlers
    Solorquest (Monopoly in space - also an old game)
    Apples to Apples (not really a board game)
    Fluxx (again, not a board game)
    Hero Quest

    I am going to be getting Puerto Rico and Ticket to Ride soon, so they get my vote as well.

    Dr. Face on
    jswidget.php?username=DrFace&numitems=10&text=none&images=small&show=top10&imagepos=left&inline=1&imagewidget=1.png
  • GrundlterrorGrundlterror Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Dr. Face wrote: »
    OMEGA VIRUS - though admitedly it is not easy to find. Luckily I got this when I was a kid and it first came out. I only fear the day when the electronic component gives out and I don't get to hear the virus taunt me anymore.

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/3086

    Others popular at my house (my wife is not a "board game" person, but she likes these anyway).

    Carcassone
    Settlers
    Solorquest (Monopoly in space - also an old game)
    Apples to Apples (not really a board game)
    Fluxx (again, not a board game)
    Hero Quest

    I am going to be getting Puerto Rico and Ticket to Ride soon, so they get my vote as well.

    Man, I miss that game (Omega Virus). I went looking for it maybe 2 months ago to bring to my board game group... only to find it missing. WHERE ARE YOU OMEGA VIRUS?!~?! I MISS YOU!!!!!

    Grundlterror on
    steam_sig.png
  • DoronronDoronron Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Gonna have to hit up Eagle Games for a few of their titles. Too bad Napoleon's out of stock for the time being...

    Doronron on
  • AnakinOUAnakinOU Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Ummm...you know Eagle games doesn't exist anymore, right?

    AnakinOU on
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Attack! is a wonderful game

    it's like a suped-up version of Risk, with a greater focus on resource gathering and diplomacy

    the expansion adds so much to the game i wouldn't even recommend playing it without it

    more info:
    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/6752

    Pony on
  • DoronronDoronron Registered User
    edited April 2007
    AnakinOU wrote: »
    Ummm...you know Eagle games doesn't exist anymore, right?

    ???

    I just took a look at their website. They're still selling stuff, apparently...

    Doronron on
Sign In or Register to comment.