Off Topic: Board Games

Board games. Whenever someone suggests playing one, I visibly groan. It's not that I don't like laying board games, it's just the set up, the length of time they take to play. It all seems so tedious. But here's the strange part — once I'm actually playing the games, I have a complete blast. Let's talk about board games: our favourites, recommendations, etc. Let's do this!

It's been a while but our family went through a fairly extensive Settlers of Catan obsession. I really loved it. Loved it. But the expansions, like the Seafarers one, just totally ruined the balance of the game for me. It became more about luck than strategy and pre-planning and that sucked.

On the whole, however, I'm a big board game noob. I don't play many and I'm not really aware of what the current big fashionable games are.

Inform me!


      See below :p

        wow. you had that prepared didnt you?

          Nope. I'm just that obsessed that I can churn something like that out :p

    Risk Legacy bro.

      Rick Legacy looks like a lot of fun but my only problem with it is that you seem to be committed to playing with the same people each time. You can't really share it around with different people, which is part of the fun of board games.

        You can, but its way better having just the same people. I was the same as you at the beginning, but you quickly realise the need to be consistent with the same people.

          RIsk Legacy is the best board game ever. It is the standard for all others now to work against. IT will not appeal to everyone, but if you have a group of friends who you can organise a regular meeting time with, there is at least 6 months of socialising and enjoyment in this. This is the only game our bunch of board gamers have ever played so consistently and still have strong feelings about. Our 15 game run extended to 18 to get an outright winner, and it was awesome, to the point of us strongly contemplating buying it again to start over. Spend time with your mates - Buy Risk Legacy. It rocks.

      Absolutely, we're in the middle of a campaign at the moment and everybody is sweating on the next games. Having a metagame hanging over each individual 'match' makes for some brutal decisions and the consequences of one act of petty vengeance can be felt for the rest of the campaign. I wouldn't recommend it with anybody other than a solid group of friends but it is the best board gaming experience I've had in years.

        I love it. Waiting on a friend to get back from the States before we continue. Had 4 games and cannot wait for the next one. Playing with the same group of people too. Makes it more personal.

          Yeah I can't imagine playing it any other way than with the same group. Somebody else planting themselves in 'Goltopia' just wouldn't be right. Our campaign continues this weekend after about a month off because of the same reason, travel, and the anticipation is killing me

      I kinda want to get it but there are so many others on my list!


    Hate Settlers of Catan. So. Much.

    I have played maybe 30 4+ player games over the years. Have come so painfully close to winning on several occasions, but then a backroom deal between a couple of other players screws me over. So I have never won.


    I just don't play it in any more because it's bad for my health. Nowadays I just play Carcasonne which has less (though still some) finagling and is subsequently less frustrating.

    Last edited 21/05/13 11:28 am

      So if you're looking for recommendations Mark:
      - Carcasonne, maybe with a couple of the expansions to add extra players and big meeples
      - Ticket to Ride

      Both relatively simple to set up and play, but devious in their branching possibilities.

      One other thing I should point out, Mark, is that the "put the kids to bed and then the adults drink beer/pepsi and play boardgames" idea is nice in theory. But with a concentration of kids they're never all going to stay asleep. In practice you're going to find that when you're in the lead, your little 'un will wake up, your partner will decide that it's your turn to look after them and that she can play on your behalf, and then when you return several goes later you will somehow be coming last.

      Just saying.

      Last edited 21/05/13 11:35 am

        I suspect this will be my life. So many kids in my Australian family right now.

          Plan ahead - wives are remarkably tolerant of occasional boys nights given notice (and some housework being done). If you aim for 1 a month, with an occasional bonus night, it will happen...

        Oh you gotta try the "put the kids on CoD:Ghosts and then the adults drink beer/pepsi and play boardgames" idea. Once they are familiar with the maps and terminology give them headsets.

      I really don't like Catan much either. Too much randomness, and very much dominated by the starting positions. Way too easy to get completely screwed in the early game when someone rolls a seven and throws the robber onto your wood supply or something. After you've played it enough the game just loses all its fun. Give me Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride any day.

        I agree that the starting positions are a huge factor in Catan but it's a reasonably easy game to teach to relative newbies.

          Easy to learn, yes. But frustrating to play once you're good at it.

    Board games are amazing and anyone interested in finding out more can start out by watching Wil Wheaton's Tabletop. Wil Wheaton and a random assortment of nerdy celebrities (ranging from Felicia Day to TotalBiscuit to Grant Imahara) play a board game. A good way to get the idea of how the games are played and if they interest you, while also being fairly entertaining anyhow.

    @freya and I play board games pretty much every night and a fair few people have come over in the last few weeks to play with us.

    The set up time for most of the games is actually fairly short. Particularly if you have to explain the rules to first time players, setting up gives you a chance to explain everything. Once you've played a few games, it's really easy to get it all together (normally it takes no more than a quick shuffle and pulling out the relevant pieces).

    As for games, Ticket to Ride is probably the best. It's a game where you build train lines across various maps to make routes given to you on cards you draw at the start of the game. Amazingly simple, can be set up in a moments and explained just as quickly. Lots of fun, can get very cutthroat and I'm yet to introduce the game to someone that did not love it.

    Resistance is one that we've just picked up. It's for 5-10 players and the setup is as quick as handing out cards to the players. You are a group of resistance fighters trying to topple an oppressive regime. The regime has set some spies into your group. As a resistance member, your aim is to successfully go on missions while spies try to sabotage them. To do this, you need to work out who the spies are and not let them onto the teams that go on missions. The spies are trying to sneak in under the radar, get on missions and fail them. So much fun although @fatshady is the worst spy ever. Apparently Resistance: Avalon is a huge improvement on the original game so anyone interested might want to pick that up instead.

    Munchkin is an interesting game that plays on a lot of RPG tropes. It can stretch a little long but it's goofy in just the right ways.

    Chez Geek is made by the same people as Munchkin but doesn't stretch on so much. You are a bunch of slackers living together. Get cards to slack off (earn points) and try to stop the others from slacking off.

    Takenoko is hands down the prettiest game that we own. You have been gifted a panda and have to grow a garden for it. You lay down tiles that grow bamboo. The gardener tries to grow bamboo, the panda eats it. You can try to do either (or both) to get points.

    Carcassonne is a tile laying game. I'm only just getting into this one but it seems like a very interesting game with the potential to screw the other players over very well. You lay down tiles to build roads, farms, cities and whatnot. Putting your meeple on the things you are building nets you points when the thing is complete but you have to manage your meeple and try not to have them all in use at once.

    Alhambra is another tile building game that I'm really not sure how to explain. There is no point in the game where you get to say Alhambra, which is disappointing but we've found that it's fun just to say it regardless.

    Pandemic is a co-op game that's sort of a reverse of the iOS game Plague Inc (or the flash game Pandemic). There are various diseases infecting the world, you are a team of specialists trying to cure it. It has some truly fantastic mechanics and can be brutally difficult. So satisfying to lose and some of the loses can be just as entertaining.

    Monopoly sucks.

    Dominion is a deck building game where you have to buy cards to put into your deck, which are then used to buy more cards and screw your opponent over. It's more interesting than that sounds.

    EDIT:Small World is a strategy game about controlling territories (like Risk but without much less dice rolling). You have a range of fantasy races to choose from that get a random assortment of special abilities. Once you think you've used up a race, you can put them into decline and pick a new one to start conquering the board all over again. There does seem to be a bit of imbalance, with some options being much stronger than others.

    EDIT THE DISCOUNT MIGHT STILL WORK Ozgameshop just had a 10% off sale on board games that expired today. We ordered a handful of games from it (7 wonders, Arkham Horror, Power Grid and a few others). Shame that this topic wasn't up last week so that more people could have taken advantage. Still, their prices are very good and people interested should take a look.

    Finally, we have regular board game nights at our apartment. @markserrels if you want to join us anytime to try out any or all of these games, you're more than welcome.

    Last edited 21/05/13 11:34 am

      Some good suggestions. A few I personally don't like (or don't like any more) but for someone who doesn't know where to start these are pretty good.

        Some of these I like more than others. I'm not a huge fan of Munchkin and Chez Geek but they seem to be pretty popular in group settings.

        If I had to pick three of those games to recommend, I'd probably go with Pandemic, Ticket to Ride (Europe board for preference but the original is also good) and Resistance.

          Yeah, I've played too much Munchkin to like it anymore. I don't like Carcassonne, but can admit it's not a bad game.

          Never played Chez Geek, but assume it feels like Munchkin.

          I've looked at Takenoko (it certainly is beautiful looking) but I've heard it's pretty simple and can get boring for hardcore gamers. Good for newer gamers or gamers who want a lighter game.

            Takenoko is simple but it's also fairly quick and doesn't take too long to set up. A nice game to start a board game night.

            And I really can't emphasize just how well made the pieces are. It has set a ridiculously high bar that I doubt many other board games are going to come close to.

            It is pretty simple but a lovely game for new players. And it's gorgeous, I love playing it just to touch the pieces.

              I don't need it though! Too many games I already need.
              Will have to go on my wishlist for another time.

      Duuuuuuuuude. Thanks for this!

        And I might take you up on that invite if I'm allowed out of the house!

          Next board game night is either Sunday or weekend after next (depending on when Freya is working). @harli might be coming and there's an open invite to any Sydney TAYbie, which means @alexpants will probably be there.

          If you're not allowed out of the house, I could always swing by the office if you can pretend that it's for an article :p

        We grab most of our stuff from Games Paradise on Pitt St. Prices aren't great and the lady that owns the place is a truly bizarre specimen of humanity but the range is fantastic.

          Good Games In Burwood has a pretty decent range, for a better price

          "Prices aren't great and the lady that owns the place is a truly bizarre specimen of humanity but the range is fantastic."

          Ha! So true.

          Last edited 24/05/13 9:14 am

        It might be a little late, but a few older games to throw in:

        Roborally is a ludicrously fun little game where everyone builds five-card programs for their robot's movement which they can then watch helplessly as it falls apart when someone pushes them onto a conveyer belt on their first turn or they get their left confused with their right. And it's back in print.

        Legendary is a Marvel deck-building game that's pretty light but a lot of fun.

        Fiasco is my current favourite game - it's a story-telling game where the players construct the plot of a movie where everything goes horribly wrong (like Reservoir Dogs or any Coen Brothers movie), but you need a group of people who are more interested in storytelling than in "winning".

      JERK! ;)

        Oooh I thought you'd like the Battlestar Galactica game. One of you is a Cylon. But who? etc :)

      Nice list, commenting so I can find and read in depth later.

      My two cents: small work is a great risk like world control game in a fantasy realm with less die rolling, and 7 wonders is a great card building family game that no matter the number if players only takes half an hour

        I forgot about Small World, going to add it to my original post.

      There's also Agricola.

      And King of Tokyo will be fun. Mark should play more board games, theyre awesome.

        Has King of Tokyo arrived yet? I want to play it so bad!

      7 wonders is a great game. Generally comes out for a few rounds when we have people over. Always fun and close scoring and only takes a game to get the idea, Even if @tech_knight's kill all humans strategy doesn't always work out
      Mrs Tigs and I are current........debating which games we get so hopefully will come to an agreement soon. Might hold off on king of tokyo and see how you find it.
      Locked in at the moment is Dixit and Castle Panic with a whole bunch fighting to get added.
      Thinking of maybe getting Fresco which seems similar in style to Alhambra

      When we get married there will be a board game theme. I bags being the Takenoko panda

      Also, I can't second The Resistance enough. It replaced Battlestar Galactica for our group for quite a while, but we've been getting back into it again recently (it doesn't hurt that another expansion is on the way)

      BSG is longish and kinda clunky in some places, but we've found that the Resistance just doesn't compare in how epic some of the games can get in BSG. Still play Resistance a lot though.

      Also, the ultimate party game Werewolf (or Mafia) is great. I'd recommend a minimum of 13 people (12 players, 1 moderator) and as many people as you can get.

        Have you played Resistance: Avalon? I've heard that it's much better but I haven't got it.

        Might try working the new rules into the original game though, if they're worthwhile.

          I prefer Avalon actually. I won't turn down normal Resistance, but there seems to be more deduction and less relying on special cards.

          It's pretty easy to work the roles of Avalon into normal Resistance. We did it before I bought it.
          White haired guy is Merlin - Good guy. He knows who all the bad guys are. Just have the bad guys stick there hands out and Merlin open his eyes.
          Pick an Assassin - Bad Guy. If the good guys win, the Assassin gets to pick a good guy to kill. If it's Merlin the bad guys win. This is pretty much the core of the game. Merlin has all the info, but can't just give it out.

          Other roles include:
          Mordred - Bad guy that doesn't show himself to Merlin.
          Percival - Good guy. He knows who Merlin is. Reveal Merlin the same way the Bad guys reveal to Merlin.
          Morgana - Bad guy. Shows as Merlin to Percival. Percival now knows 2 people, one who is good, one bad, but he doesn't know which yet.
          Oberon - Bad guy. Doesn't show himself to the other bad guys nor know who they are.

          Lady of the Lake token. Bit hard to play without extra bits. Can work out if you like the game with the above rules though.

          There are a couple of other things, but I think they are all extra cards, available from the BGG store. We don't really like Lancelot or Excalibur, makes it a bit too random.

            I think how many of those get worked in might have to be based on how many are playing. If there are only 5, it would be really difficult to work them in but with a full 10 it would make it a lot more interesting.

            Will probably work Merlin and the Assassin into the next game to see how it pans out.

              Yeah, Percival doesn't really work with 5 or 6.

              Merlin and Assassin are always in. I would suggest the first one to add would be Mordred. Oberon is hard to play but can be an interesting change of pace.

      Yeah Smallworld is good fun, been playing that quite a bit recently. Love the multi-sized boards, makes it suitable from 2-6 players, just use a different sized board :)

      I'm looking to get back into boardgames. I come from an axis and allies, talisman, hero quest type of background. Any suggestions?

        Sorry, haven't really had much experience with those sorts of games so I can't recommend anything.

        Board Game Geek and Reddit/r/boardgames have recommendation sections that might help.

        Sounds like you'd be more into thematic games than euro-stratgies (not that one rules out the other, lots play both). How comfortable are you with complexity of rules?

        Some to look into

        Smallworld - Everyone plays (multiple over the course of the game) races with special powers. Take over areas to score points. Races and Powers are paired up randomly and determine your unit count. When you have stretched a particular race as far as they will go, put them in decline (still scores points for you, but can't move them) and get a new race/power.
        Battlestar Galactica - Co-op with traitors. Need to try and keep flying while some players secretely sabotage things. See Resistance/Resistance: Avalon for a shorter co-op with traitors.
        Descent - Sort of like Hero Quest. Overlord plays the monsters, other players are the Heroes trying to get somewhere, kill something or find something.
        Merchants and Marauders - Great game that looks like Sid Meyers Pirates. Sail the Carribean as a Merchant or Pirate.
        The D&D adventure games Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon and Legend of Drizzt are similar to Descent but less complex and play in about 1-2hrs.

        Plenty of others to suggest if you have anything more specific you are interested in.

        Last edited 21/05/13 3:33 pm

      Except for Takenoko, I think every game you listed there has featured on Tabletop =) Not that it isn't a great show, mind you. Been watching it since it first started. Wish they'd up their release rate though.

        Takenoko was on the Tabletop Day stream but Carcassonne and Dominion haven't been on it.

        I like Tabletop.

          Yeah, I think I mentally skipped over those two because I've already heard of them.

          It's a shame nobody I know is into tabletop games, I've been wanting to play half the games I've seen on Tabletop for ages. Pandemic in particular.

    not a board game, but oh so much fun.


    Or if you want to stick with board games.

    RoboRally by Richard Garfield (WotC and Magic fame)

    Maybe i'm old school...

      Richard Garfield apparently has a whole host of board games out there. King of Tokyo is very popular and I'm waiting on my copy to arrive from Ozgameshop. It's a dice rolling game with a kaiju theme. Who doesn't want to be a giant monster smashing other giant monsters in the middle of Tokyo?

      He also made Netrunner, another card game, that was updated into Android: Netrunner. Android: Netrunner is a really highly rated two player "living" card game. The bit that appeals to me is that it's asymmetrical. You have the netrunners on one side and the corporations on the other, giving both players varying mechanics to mix things up a little and add more replayability.

        + a billion to Android: Netrunner. To borrow someone's idea from BGG: compared to original Netrunner, it's like seeing that awkward kid from high school at your 10 year reunion and he's turned into Tony Stark.

    power grid is a good game. great art style and gets very tense as the game gets to the end

    We love Carcasonne at our place. There are expansion packs to make it interesting too.

    Wil Wheaton's Table Top series on youtube is a great resource for current board games. Each ep Wil and some internet/tv celebs play a board game or two and it gives you a good feel for how the game is played.

    I keep trying to say board games are not cool, like they are just what old people did before video games.. but when you win as many games in one night as me (obvious troll of a few TAYbies there) it's hard not to get sucked back into them.. I had a blast playing them and am certainly looking at suggesting this for a few mates. Good times.

    love boardgames. play them irl, play them online.
    settlers seems to be one of those love it or hate it games - personally i love it, and have used it as a gateway game for others.
    friends have dispersed over the earth, so now we use online services like bsw and boardgamearena.
    kingdom builder is our current fave, but we play loads of 4 player games like san juan, carcassone, puerto rico, kingsburg, stoneage, 7 wonders, cafe international etc.

    set-ups can take a while, but are oh so worth it :)

    Arkham Horror is great. One of those games where you have to cooperate to beat the game itself.

    Settler - good Aussie game where you trade sheep, deal with drought ect.

      Did you mean Squatter?

        Thanks Matt!! Yeah Squatter! Great game.

          Used to play that with my mum as a kid. Squatter and Stock Market were the two big games we'd break out when guests were over.

    I picked up King of Tokyo recently, its a great quick game where you play as Godzilla style giant monsters battling it out to be King of Tokyo.

    As for other board game stuff, has great coverage of all board game stuff. Reviews, play sessions, board game news.

    I guess it's not really a board game, but I recently had a chance to play Dominion. That shit was pretty tight, yo.

    into cars?

    Formula D

    Good fun, and easy to play. Perfect family game.

      Speaking of Formula D, just this second had a package delivered for the newest 2 tracks and some extra dice.

      Really want to get a League going with my game groups this year and play through all the tracks.

    My current favourite game is probably Merchants and Marauders. More complex than most of the games being suggested here, but really feels like Sid Meyers Pirates. You can sail around as a merchant or turn to pirating and attack your fellow players.

    My fave game designer by far though is the Czech designer Vlaada Chvatil. He has done a range of games from simple party games, (Sneaks and Snitches, Bunny Bunny Moose Moose), right up to brain burning 4-8hr games (Mage Knight, Through the Ages) most of them with rules written with great humour. They aren't for everyone, some are too chaotic, some too much of a puzzle or have other issues for various people, but they are all worth looking at.

    Some recommendations for Vlaada games:
    Galaxy Trucker - This has a bit to take in with lots of tiles to learn about but is all about building a spaceship, then sending it on a race to deliver cargo, passengers and the ship itself without having it blown up in the process. Note, unless you are a puzzle pro you will blow up many times.

    Dungeon Petz - This is a sequel of sorts to Dungeon Lords (based on video games like Dungeon Keeper) but a bit simpler. The idea is you are the imps that worked for the Dungeon Lords who were destroyed by the heroes. After the destruction of their dungeons the imps decided to run pet stores to sell monsters to other Dungeon lords. You need to buy, raise (by meeting various needs, such as hunger, anger and pooping), put in exhibitions and finally sell the various monsters (all extremely cute strange creatures) and raise your stores reputation.

    Space Alert - A real time co-op game in which you program your moves using cards to move around a ship, keep energy flowing and shoot down threats. In reality you'll run around aimlessly, probably in the wrong direction and press a button 3 times that has no energy for ten minutes. Very chaotic and hilarious when you it happens, but when you get a team that starts working well together it's fantastic.

    Sneaks and Snitches - Short, 10-20 minute bluffing and deduction game, which includes Rick Astley (or a character that looks like him) Players simultaneously choose one location to steal loot from and one location to alert the police/guards. If you go to a location that isn't blocked then you get the loot, unless more than you went there, in which case you get some minor loot. At the end add up the 4 different kinds of loot and get points for having the most, second most and so on. Not all loot gets everyone points.

    Mage Knight - Based on the clix miniatures game of the same name, this is more of an epic adventure in which upto 4 mage knights come to a land, explore, gain skills and abilities and eventually try to take down massive cities. This is a long game (full game with 4 people will be 6-8 hours) and you won't always be able to do what you want because of the deck building mechanics and having movement tied to cards, but when you work out some strategies it is a great adventure/rpg game.

    Through the Ages - This is a card based civilisation game without a map and works wonderfully. Incredibly deep, but pretty tough and will have you exhausted from thinking by the end of it. Experienced players will be able to play it in under 4hrs, but first games will probably run 6hrs with 4 people. Some people claim it is best as a 2 player game which will significantly shorten the game, but will probably still take about 2hrs.

    Last edited 21/05/13 12:16 pm

      oh my god, @trjn made another account to post another post about board games so he wouldn't look obsessive and weird

        Compared to @lortarg, I've barely dipped my toes in the waters of board games.

          You've found a mentor!

            I'm just a gamer, Video, Board and Role Playing.
            It's too hard to find people to play with sometimes, so always ready to help people who are interested.

      Just a plug for some Geelong based game groups.

      Every Tuesday night at Good Games is board gameing night, usually have at least 8 people and can get upto about 15 or so.

      DARGH (Anime and Gaming club) meets every fortnight at Deakin Waurn Ponds for board games, and every other fortnight for Anime screenings.

      A local Sci-fi group meets up occasionally for gaming as well, usually at Good Games.

      I think there is another group (the Gamers Guild)who meets up on Monday nights (or used to) but I don't know much about them as I haven't been to one of their events for quite a few years.

      Space Truckers sounds awesome.

        I love it, but i tend to do really well at it, the puzzle just clicks for me. Thankfully in expansion there are cards you can use to give a handicap to people who do well (and make them lose parts of their ships in the process)

      Space Alert is awesome. Someone always screws up and then everything goes out of sync and it's a comedy of errors. People firing guns at stuff that isn't there when there's no energy available, attacking boarding parties that are on the other side of the ship...

      I have both galaxy truckers and dungeon petz (and lords) on my wishlist. Have not played either on them but the sounds like something I would really enjoy.

      Merchants & Marauders looks cool, think that's another for the list. Have you played Libertalia? It looks similar in style (and theme)

        Dungeon Lords and Petz are both worker placement games but different enough that they feel quite different. I find Lords harder and longer and it has a kind of combat and a cool mechanic with the evil meter with whoever gets too evil attracting a really tough hero. Petz while easier is probably a better game but replaces combat with assigning and meeting your pets needs.

        Haven't played Libertalia, heard of it but don't know much about it.

        Merchants and Marauders looks and plays well letting you freely choose how you want to play. You can play as a merchant (easy mostly guaranteed points) or a pirate (riskier but quicker points) or freely switch as you go. As good as it looks I pimped out my Merchants and Marauders with coins and chests from Mused Fables it was really worth it. Makes the whole game look and feel so much better. Looking for some ships to replace the plastic ones it comes with next.

      Absolutely love Merchants and Marauders! It was the game that opened my eyes to the world of board games past freakin' Monopoly.


    Extent of my knowledge.

      Traditional games are pretty rad. I used to be into card games in high school. Played a lot of 500, big 2 and warlords/scumbags (also known as presidents and assholes, asshole and a whole host of other names). I've been tempted to learn to play bridge as well, seeing as it's pretty much 500 but apparently better.

      Mahjong is also a great game. Learnt to play that as a kid and when I first moved out of home, we had no internet for a while which meant that my housemates and I played mahjong basically every night. It's pretty much four player gin rummy with tiles but more manic.

    Just go to Board Game Geek. They have over 50,000 board games rated:

      Great site but even there you'll want to ask for recommendations. I wouldn't suggest some of the top rated games for new players.

    I'm only just rekindling my interest in boardgames. I ordered The Cave from Ozgameshop, and I also feel like we should have our own copy of Monopoly around even if Trjn thinks it sucks. :P

    Depending on how interested I/my friends are in playing The Cave, I might branch out into other co-op games like Space Cadets and Pandemic. I think we need a good mix of long and short games - sometimes I look at things like Race for the Galaxy and think 1 hour is too short for a game but other times 3 hours is waaay too long.

    I guess I'm like Mark in that getting started is kind of a roadblock but once I'm playing I don't want it to end. I had this problem back when I was into Magic: the Gathering. I was more interested in having a big army of creatures and constantly trading blows than I was actually dealing damage and winning. I used to agree with my friends that we'd start with 30 health instead of the usual 20 just so it would last longer.

    This kind of mentality has cost me more than one game of Risk as a kid too, I guess I just don't have a killer instinct.

      There are games out there, like Dominion, that allow for some fairly diverse strategies. You do have to remember to go for the win conditions occasionally though :p

      Play Monopoly by the rules and it doesn't suck. Although I still think it's not a great game, it becomes more of a negotiation/auction game.

      Pandemic is a good co-op, and I still enjoy playing it, but there are others to look into as well. Take a look at Flash Point as one that is similar.
      For Space Cadets, you need to be able to play a recording which will tell you when threats are coming (which are randomly determined by cards) There is also a lot going on and unless you have someone who really knows the game it could get messy. I really like it, but don't really get to play it because of the soundtrack.

      If you aren't sure what will work for your group, or want to try some games before you buy them look into a group that plays at a game store or other location. You'll get plenty of people who can teach games and will be willing to help you find games your group will like.

        As to your Monopoly point, I think this is important. I don't think I've ever read the actual rules for Monopoly, and just grew up playing it how my mother told me it was played. There a things I've always done that I understand to be common house rules rather than the way the game was intended to be played.

        Part of why I bought Monopoly (my childhood set having been lost years and years ago) is just so I can play at least one game properly, now that I'm a grown up.

          Forgot the most important part. It should play in about 1-1.5hrs rather than 4+ or someone flipping the table.

          Everyone plays by house rules that get passed on and make the game "fairer" but also worse. People make the house rules so that nobody loses, because normally kids are playing, and that means that it's really hard for anyone to win.

          Playing by the official rules speeds the game up dramatically but I just don't like it.

          Going further with Monopoly it becomes an even better game if you put up every property for auction when somebody lands on them. Doing that and banning 'vengeance bankruptcy' where bankrupt players sell their last properties cheap to try and screw over the player who sends them broke and you've got a reasonably enjoyable game. There are still so many better games out there that it should only be pulled out in emergency 'only board game in the house' situations.

    Ticket to Ride (Europe is the best map IMHO, the American map just gets nasty) and Carcassone. We have regular games at work over lunch, good vindictive stuff. Both are available on Xbox Live too which rocks, no fumbling around with a handful of train cards or accidently swallowing a meeple.

    City of Horror.

    Surviving in a city of zombies, managing resources, blowing up armouries with people inside, betraying friends and booting their asses out of strongholds for the zombies to eat... what's not to love?

    I go to a group for board games here in HK. Played Talisman, Risk, Settlers of Catan, PowerGrid and a couple others so far, enjoyed them all.
    Have now bought Android: Netrunner (awesome card game), Relic (a Warhammer version of Talisman), Lord of the Rings card game and Arkham Horror.
    Joining the meetup group has really piqued my interest in board games.

      I like the idea of Talisman more than the game. It's just a bit too random for me. I've been playing Return of the Heroes a lot recently which has the same feel but less random, unfortunately it can be hard to get, apart from Ebay or Amazon.
      I'd like to try Relic, as it seems to have helped with some of the randomness of Talisman.
      Arkham Horror is more of an Experience, than a game sometimes, but no less fun for it. You just need to go in with the right attitude. It's also best with about 4-5 players. More and it gets easier, less and it gets harder.

      Have you played Relic yet? Seen it and it looks cool with a great theme but not sure how it translates into play

        Only part way through our first game, teaching the wife how to play is making it longer.
        So at this point can't comment too much on how it is. As I said below to lortarg, it seems like a nice improvement so far on the gameplay in Talisman. I don't know much about the lore of WH40k but the artwork is superb. Can't wait to paint up the miniatures that come with it. In any case, if you like Talisman I don't see any reason why you wouldn't like Relic.

    I'll put in my 2c and say Endeavour, check it out. Great game that takes about 2 hrs to play the first few times, then down to about 1hr when players know what they want to do. I'm not selling the game very well, so just try it :)

    Agree with you on Talisman, although that randomness can lead to some hilarious/frustrating experiences which is cool if you just enjoy the experience more so than winning. Still mid-way through our first game of Relic, but so far it seems like a good evolutionary improvement.
    Have not tried Arkham Horror yet, still waiting for it to arrive. I suspect I'll be doing alot of solo games with me playing as multiple characters, hope that goes ok, I've read that it is still satisfying playing it that way.
    [edit] This was supposed to be a reply to @lortarg

    Last edited 21/05/13 12:58 pm

      Yeah, it's probably more of an Experience game than Arkham Horror. I don't hate the game, but usually I feel let down by it.

      Arkham is good, and I suspect if you like Talisman, you'll definitely like Arkham. It's probably worth while going to and going through the files section for the game to find some good player aids and maybe watch some tutorial videos as the rules can be a bit hard to work through. The game itself isn't all that hard though.

    Have to say, @Trjn has a pretty awesome list up there.
    I have a couple of additions:

    Ankh Morporkh is a must for any Discworld fan, its a zone control game with differing victory conditions, perfectly playable with 2-5 people, but I've had people team up before

    Munchkin is a decent party game - have recently been given the Apocalypse version which makes it more fun, can make the game end sooner than you might expect, and gives a chance for anyone to win.

    I've just bought a game called Triassic Terror that I playtested at CanCon earlier this year
    its risk with DINOSAURS on a smaller island and less dickery

    Android: Infiltration - You are trying to get in and out of a corporations building with out being caught by security with as much data as you can , and trying to leave your buddies inside (with security)

    Kingdom Builder - Easy game to learn and play - you place settlements in the countryside creating your kingdom. basically you want the most points at the end.

    (@Trjn I'm intrigued by your BG days, I might pop around to one if thats cool)

      It is definitely cool. I tend to spam Twitter and TAY when one is coming up and it's an open invitation.

      Ankh Morpork is quite good. I would hesitate to say the same about Guards Guards. It seems like a worse Talisman. The designer of Ankh Morpork, Martin Wallace, is working on a game about the Witches next. He also has a game on kickstarter now called A Study in Emerald which is based on a short story by Neil Gaiman about Cthulu and Sherlock Holmes.

      Android: Infiltration is great, we always have one or two people pushing the top floor to find an elevator out.

      I should probably own Ankh Morpork. I'm a bit of a Pratchett fanboy, it only makes sense for me to have that.

        I would have loved the collectors edition (or whatever the most limited version was) but I wasn't sure if it was for me at the time.
        A friend owns the middle one which comes with some extras like a dice with 7a instead of 8, and I've since come to enjoy it. Wouldn't play it all the time, but it's fun.

          I don't think that I could own a copy of this game that came with a die without 7a on it. Now that I know it exists, the idea of having anything else just seems wrong.

   (the only place that the publishers of the game list as having it)

              I looked at the publishers site and that should be the collectors edition with 7a on the dice.

                Looks like the collectors edition had a pretty short run, so that might be the only way to get it.

          This probably will not help but the collectors edition is so purdy.
          I bought it for my wife as an anniversary present. Is a really fun game, only played it a few times so far but think you are right, it is better than guards guards. Both are enjoyable though.

            The delux edition has awesome looking resin (I think) pieces but the collectors edition looks good. I don't particularly like the money but it works.

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