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Benny

Top Board Games Recommendations and Buyer's Guide

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Some great choices there. For easy-to-get-into but fun-to-play-with-non-gamers games, there's also:

 

Camel Up

Azul
Imhotep

Kingdomino

 

There's loads of others too, but they're the ones that came immediately to mind.

 

The Unlock and Exit series of games are also very good to play with non-gamer groups, but they're single playthrough only (and in the case of the Exit series, you end up destroying the components during play, so you can't even sell it on).

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I second Camel Up, I've played it with a few groups of people now and it's always gone down well. I'd also suggest King of Tokyo and Sargada as well.

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4 hours ago, emerald fox said:

Those look great thanks for the suggestions @Professor Rob

Strike and Push It are both dead easy but addictive little games. About £15 each. Strike is a push your luck dice thrower and push it is like curling 

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Lots of good family / non-gamer games have been mentioned already so I'll just add

Cockroach Poker

Skull

Sushi Dice (when it becomes available again)

ticket to ride New York / London (great smaller versions of ticket to ride)

 

to your list of choices

 

As for where to buy from:

Thirsty Meeples

Chaos Cards

Zatu

Boardgameguru

Gameslore

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3 hours ago, SimonC said:

Lots of good family / non-gamer games have been mentioned already so I'll just add

Cockroach Poker

Skull

Sushi Dice (when it becomes available again)

ticket to ride New York / London (great smaller versions of ticket to ride)

 

to your list of choices

 

As for where to buy from:

Thirsty Meeples

Chaos Cards

Zatu

Boardgameguru

Gameslore

 

Just realised I meant to say Sushi Roll not Sushi Dice. Don't get Sushi Dice. It's a steaming turd of a game. Sushi Roll on the other hand isn't.

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Here’s my top 5 for a new group of players:

 

Carcassonne 

Ticket to Ride: Europe

Forbidden Island

Azul

King of Tokyo

 

Can’t go wrong with Sushi Go Party, Codenames and 7 Wonders either. 

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Azul can actually be quite brutal for newbies. Century: Spice Road, Reef, Quacks or Splendor would be my picks.

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I was looking for a copy of HeroQuest but decided against it looking at the prices. I've now gone down the modern-day board game rabbit hole and settled on Descent for my main Christmas present. I've noticed it's not getting much love in here. :(

 

Hope I'm not making a mistake warming to it...  I'd go with Gloomhaven but there's no chance I can get my wife to play something that intense.

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1 hour ago, Fallows said:

I was looking for a copy of HeroQuest but decided against it looking at the prices. I've now gone down the modern-day board game rabbit hole and settled on Descent for my main Christmas present. I've noticed it's not getting much love in here. :(

 

Hope I'm not making a mistake warming to it...  I'd go with Gloomhaven but there's no chance I can get my wife to play something that intense.

 

Descent is great, even when I played through as both the DM and the team; I'm sure you will enjoy it.    Maybe you can move onto Gloomhaven later.

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I'll report back in the new year! I'm locked in, pretty much. I've been craving HeroQuest for too long. Besides, Gloomhaven is probably going to require me to groom up the people around me first.

We only just discovered 'Labyrinth' (The moving maze, not the Bowie/Henson thing). Super cool and simple game with lots of meta, and thanks to that my wife has caught the bug. My mum is wondering what to get her for Christmas so I'm thinking of telling her to pick a board game. She's Chinese Malaysian and comes from a family of gambling Mahjong degenerates - therefore I reckon Reef or Azul are both solid choices. Santorini (and the expansion) also looks beautiful, and could help bridge the gap over to character/class/dungeon games.

 

I want them all, basically.

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On 06/12/2019 at 12:11, Cosmic_Guru said:

Descent is great, even when I played through as both the DM and the team; I'm sure you will enjoy it.

 

One of the things I dislike from watching play videos is the miss mechanic. Everyone basically has a one-in-six chance of missing no matter how shit-hot your character is. Does this modify over the course of the game at all?

 

Another irk is the KO. One of the first things I modify into Skyrim is permanent death for all NPCs (none of that temporary knock-out state). I also play Fire Emblem that way, as it gives more weight to your decisions.

 

Not game-breakers, but just things that make me go "hmm..". :)

 

Really liking Santorini, the more I see of it.

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The combat system in Gloomhaven basically broke all Descent like games for me.

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39 minutes ago, Benny said:

The combat system in Gloomhaven basically broke all Descent like games for me.

 

It's also a masterpiece of simplicity which is kind of counter-intuitive given the weight of the box.   There are so many dungeon crawler style games that bog down in different enemy behaviours or fiddly rules on statuses, actions, movement, line of sight or combat mechanics.  The basic GH gameplay loop is also very easy to remember and to control (from the SP perspective)  on the table - it doesn't matter if you take extended breaks from it.  This is just as well since it's been a long time for me, although I'm pretty sure another session is not too far off.

 

I wouldn't return to Descent but it's still a decent enough game for those less experienced - now I would replay Sword & Sorcery with a new team combination if I wanted that sort of campaign experience, because I adore it, despite it's many quirks and degree of fiddlinesses.

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I still have an unopened Gloomhaven which I bought optimistically thinking I’d get a group together to play. If anyone is looking to buy it please feel free to message me..

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On 08/12/2019 at 13:30, The Hierophant said:

I'm really keen on a dungeon crawler style board game I can play with my older children (11 and 9). 

 

Maybe you could get Descent and have your older child play DM v you and the younger one - they might enjoy getting the better of you, and you could help your teammate with their character(s).  Or maybe one of the D&D boardgames?  

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On 08/12/2019 at 13:30, The Hierophant said:

I'm really keen on a dungeon crawler style board game I can play with my older children (11 and 9). 

 

Have you checked out Stuffed Fables?  :)

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Glad to see a lot of love for Coup in this thread. Staple of my boardgame nights these days, usually once everyone is warmed up we do a couple of games with a £1 buy in just to add a little bit of spice to it.

 

I would recommend Coup: Rebellion G54 also. It has the same mechanics from Coup (minus foreign aid) and comes with a set of 25 classes. You then pick 5 from this pool of 25 and create your own game of Coup. They are restricted by category also and you pick a set number from each one, so the game you create should still be well balanced.There are 5 classes that are very similar/near identical to the ones from the original game, some that are similar in flavour with some tweaks, then some "advanced" classes (that are labelled as such) that throw in a bit more madness. It's essentially infinite Coup and has gone down really well with my Coup-fiend friends.

 

Favourite current class is The General, where you pay 5 coins and every other player loses a card, and it has to be blocked by another General. So if you play it, you have one lap of the table to see if everyone is willing to accept that you have a general, then everyone gets a chance to claim THEY have a general, then you have to decide if you believe them. It can get very heated. :D 

 

Also Decrypto is excellent. It's the sort of non-party-game version of Codenames if you have a smaller group and want to tax your brain a little bit more. I think it works really well with teams of two, for example, though you could certainly play with more than that. Each team has a set of four words that only their team can see.  These words are each assigned a number, which again is only known to the team. For example:

 

1. Archaeology.

2. Baseball.

3. Sky.

4. Orange.

 

Each team has a person describing and then everyone else guessing. The describer will draw a card that only they can see, which will have a 3 digit code. They need to provide single word clues to describe the words that correspond with that code, so their teammate will be able to guess said code.

 

For example, if my code was 1,2,3. I could say Dig, Bat, Cloud. If I get my teammate to say 1,2,3, we're all good. If not, we get a miscommunication token. Get 2 of those and we lose. Giving the clues to my team mate is quite easy as they can use process of elimination and make use of the extra information we have that the other team doesn't.

 

However, the challenge is that the opposition team is also trying to guess the three digit code. The words never change throughout the game, and each round the opposition will write down what clues you used, the code they guessed and also what the actual code was. So as the game goes on you will have to keep giving new clues to describe the same words, and the opposition will have noted down all of the clues you've used and start to build up a list.

 

So on round 2 if I get 3,2,1. If I then say Aeroplane/Ball/Bones the opposing team will have a list of clues that will read:

 

Word 1: Dig/Bones

Word 2: Bat/Ball

Word 3: Cloud/Aeroplane

 

If the opposition team guesses our team's code twice then they win.

 

As a result, you have to make your clues obscure/difficult/misleading enough that the other team won't pick up on patterns/themes but not so difficult that you screw over your own team mate. It's really good fun trying to put your team through the wringer juuust enough, plus you can create narratives and threads running through your clues that will hopefully only be obvious to your team mates. Or if you know the opponents are getting a good idea of what one of your words might be, you could feed them easy clues for that word, or you could feed them what appears to be an easy clue for that word, but your team mates with the benefit of their extra information would know is actually for a different one. It can be mentally exhausting to play but is incredibly satisfying in my experience.

 

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Descent and Azul turned up.

 

Annoyingly Descent has a minor bashed corner (thanks to typically shite Amazon packing) which I'm trying to forget about as sending it back for a replacement seems a bit petty. Once opened I'll try to flatten it with a Duplo block and colour the white bits in with markers.

 

The box for Azul is beautiful, though. :wub: Desperate to open it up despite it needing to go under the tree.

 

Am I going to end up with shelves full of these by next year?

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Yes, you probably are. Although my problem collection has taken about 15 years to get fully out of control. You've got time to seek help.

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From this year's gaming I would add Burgle Bros and Legends Untold to my list of solo game recommendations - just a reminder the current criteria for this are:

 

  1. Either designed specifically for, or equally good when played solo;
  2. Offers re-playability potential one way or another; 
  3. Has good quality design and manufacture; and
  4. Includes a high degree of randomness (more a personal preference I suppose - it's what makes S&S so enjoyable)

Possibly also the games in the Hexx-explore series although those games are very niche.   Legends untold is incredibly neat and portable dungeon crawler which is really atmospheric and chewy, and offers a lot of character customisation.  You are always balancing the need to push on with further exploration and combat can be punishing.  I've finished the sewers campaign and looking up the score table I'm informed I failed since I was pushing through too quickly in places, so if the next level packs are ever produced I would need to play through again (I probably would anyway).  Burgle Bros is just incredibly neat and tense and offers loads of different layouts.

 

Looking at my earlier post in April I would remove Folklore (just too much bookkeeping), Queensdale probably does not quality strictly speaking although I had great fun with it (as I currently am with The King's dilemma).  So the list at present is

Gloomhaven

Sword & Sorcery (just allow a lot of space)

Black Sonata  (don't care for Marquis their next game)

Nemo's War

Gloom of Kilforth (although it boils down to resolving the puzzle of achieving the first couple of level ups within a reasonable timeframe)

Legends Untold

Burgle Bros

 

Adventuria is really solid.  Unbroken is very ingenious.  7th continent was fun when the map was being revealed but I'm in no rush to get it out again.  I really need to get Mage Knight out (I said this in April), because I'm sure it should be included - I just got hold of Shadows of Malice which looks like a super stripped down dice-rolling version of it in some respects (you can also see the legacy in Hex-explore.

 

Other highlights of the year which aren't solo experiences

Snowdonia - the KS deluxe box which is simply wonderful

Dark Domains - really nice take-that dungeon keeper type experience with everyone trying to create the most evil patch of the world, and resist the forces of light (and other players) (now spotted in retail if anyone is interested)

Vindication - great game although including unnecessary miniatures and (maybe) too many bells and whistles play variants.

 

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13 minutes ago, Jashin said:

 Robinson Crusoe is great solo too.

 

Agreed, as is This War of Mine.  Both need more plays though to really firm up my thoughts on them.

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On 11/12/2019 at 07:08, The Hierophant said:

That looks good, have you played it?

 

I've played both Stuffed Fables and Mice & Mystics with my son (same designer, lots of similarities).

 

Of the two, Stuffed Fables is a bit more polished, it's clearly the second iteration of the same basic idea. The story plays out literally right on the pages of a giant book and every time you turn the page you get a different map and chapter to play on, with the words and instructions on the opposite page. It's really varied and mixes rules and scenarios up constantly as you play.

 

Mice & Mystics is a bit more of a traditional dungeon crawler, you get a bunch of map tiles that are laid out in different configurations for each chapter, and the story is read from a separate chapter book. There's a bit more of a learning curve as you need to know more rules up front whereas in Stuffed Fables it's a fairly basic rule set with lots of chapter-specific twists and additions.

 

Of the two I think we preferred Mice & Mystics. The theme (heroic mice battling evil cockroaches, spiders and cats) is superb, you get really attached to your characters and you build them up as you play through, carrying over upgrades and items from chapter to chapter. Stuffed Fables has a slightly more juvenile theme but it's also a bit darker in tone, if that makes sense (lost toys fighting an encroaching darkness) and each chapter plays out separately with little being carried over.

 

Mice & Mystics also has a couple of great expansions although sadly the second one is almost unobtainable now unless you want to pay big bucks to eBay resellers. And there's a standalone semi-sequel in a different genre, Tail Feathers, which is a two-player battle game with mice waging war on the back of flying birds - it's really, really good and you can use all your Mice & Mystics characters.

 

They're both great though, my boy (9 at the time) loved them both. He's also a fan of Super Dungeon Explore, which seems to be a bit of a Marmite game for a lot of people and has an absolutely terrible rulebook but is a lot of fun if you can get into it and don't mind house-ruling things that aren't very well explained.

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On 14/12/2019 at 01:25, Fallows said:

The box for Azul is beautiful, though. :wub: Desperate to open it up despite it needing to go under the tree.

 

I've got a copy under the tree and I can't wait to open it up, sorry give it to someone as gift :blush:

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