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  • Everything Board Games

    So I've recently caught the board games bug and I realized we don't have a thread here to share great board games and warn others of disappointments.

    So to preface, I wouldn't call myself a board game geek growing up - I played typical 80s/90s board games with my friends like Risk, Game of Life, Monopoly and a few lesser known ones but still well known like Scotland Yard and Master Labyrinth. Now that I am an adult, I am finding my game interests becoming more geeky.

    I recently purchased two new board games and have my eye on a few more. Warning, buying board games is addictive and while the cheaper price point compared to video games is nice, its a slippery slope.

    My brother in law hooked me on to Pandemic. This is one of the best rated board games in the world with multiple international awards. One of the key elements to this game is that it is 100% cooperative play - you either lose as a team or you win as a team. This is nice and certainly leads to fewer arguments as do competitive games.

    The premise of the game is fairly simple - you're on a team of specialists looking to find cures to 4 diseases before they cause world wide pandemic. There are multiple ways to lose this game - a disease spreads too much (run out of any coloured disease cubes), have too many outbreaks, or run out of player cards.

    To win, you must collect player cards that have corresponding cities and colours on them - you need 5 of a colour to cure a disease. Cure all 4 diseases before any of the losing triggers, and you win.

    Each player has a different specialized role with unique abilities. The dispatcher role can move other peoples marker using their turn - enabling them to best position other players. The scientist role only needs 4 cards of a colour instead of 5 to cure a disease. There are multiple roles available and the reconfiguration of your team makes each game different.

    Each turn more cities are infected with disease cubes while players travel the world and try to remove them - but tick tock - because the game ends when you run out of player cards to draw from (no reshuffle) the game does have a set limit to it and the average game takes about 45 mins to play.

    I have played this as both a 2 and 4 player game and both were enjoyable. There are different difficulties available and I have only played on the easiest setting so far. I have only played with adults but my 11 year old niece is able to play with adults no problem. The rules are fairly simple and the game play is the same structured steps each turn, so easy enough to follow. I managed to get this game from BestBuy on sale for $45+tax but it seems to typically run in the $50-$60 range.


    The other game I recently purchased ties in to one of my other fandoms, the Harry Potter Battle of Hogwarts Card Game. I love Harry Potter and so does my wife- so this was a good choice for us as it is another 100% cooperative game (no more fights like from Scattegories) and has great HP graphics on the cards and box.

    You play as the heroes of HP - Harry, Hermoine, Ron or Neville (there is an expansion box that adds Luna). There are 7 games (for 7 books) and it gets harder as you advance. The basic premise is that you need to defeat all of the villains before they can control all of the locations. In year 1, you face a total of 3 villains one at a time. By year 5, you have 3 villains simultaneously and around 13 in total to defeat. Each villain has an ability on it, they may trigger every turn (active hero loses health) or on specific events (lose 1 health if you have to discard a card).

    Each hero has their own starter deck of 10 cards and you buy new cards into your deck with money earned in your turn. This means that while you could start with the same deck every time, your deck will be different each time you play.

    Each turn consists of 4 elements: a dark arts event card (sometimes more than one), the villain abilities, play your hand to acquire attacks and money, buy new cards and discard all unused tokens. You assign attack tokens to the different villains by placing them on the board below the villain who have different health points (Draco is 5 or 6 while Voldemort is 10 for example). Some turns you may have no attacks while others you might have 3 or 4, depends on the make up of your deck (if you buy attack heavy cards as my wife tends to or if you buy cards that let you draw more cards which I tend to favour for bigger turns). All the while, you manage your own health and that of your coplayers. Through dark events, villain abilities or losing your health - the villains gain control of locations. Each game has 3 locations to defend.

    My wife and I played this as a 2 player game through games 1 - 5 and thought it was quite easy but enjoyable. So when we had friends join us for a game, we stayed in game 5 and played a 4 player game where we were completely destroyed at no fault of our friends playing for the first time. In two player games, you can safely ignore your health since you can usually boost your health on your turn. In a 4 player game, you can lose health on every other players turn, so by the time you get back to your health, you can have lost enough health to lose a location. There does seem to be some luck of the draw in terms of difficulty as the starting combination of villains and the cards available to buy can make it either easy or really hard. If the market place only has high value cards available (only 6 cards are available at a time) and you are spending all of your turn try to heal, then you wont get enough money to buy new cards, refreshing the market and strengthening your hand. After feeling quite cocky from playing only two players, we have been adequately humbled by the 4 player experience.

    I bought this for around $40 on Amazon and see it as something the kids will very much enjoy as they get old enough.


    On my radar with at least one likely imminent purchase and others possibly as birthday gifts in October are:

    Sentinels of the Multiverse - coop game with comic book style as knockoff superheros battle villains in a card based game. One element I like to this one is that in addition to play a villain deck and the hero decks, there is an environment deck which adds a dynamic that can impact both heroes and villains. For example, in the dinosaur environment, the Raptor card will attack the weakest on the board, which could be a hero or the villain or one of their minions. Can be played as a solitaire game or as a group.

    King of Tokyo - each player is a monster battling for control of Tokyo. On your turn, you roll 6 dice and make Yahtzee style decisions of what to keep and what to reroll. The dice have attack, heal, points or energy. Use energy to buy additional powers for your monster. You can win by achieving the score limit or by being the last monster standing.

    Smash Up - I love the idea of this one but doubt I can get the wife to play too much. Different factions have decks and each person chooses two factions to combine. Dinosaurs, wizards, zombies, pirates, aliens, ninjas, etc with unique abilities get combined to make different variations on each game. Players battle to control game base locations to score points. Lots of expansion packs available so could be an expensive one if the wife enjoys it.

    Roll for it - simply roll your dice to try and score combinations to match the 3 active cards. Yahtzee style decision on what to keep in play and what to roll next time. Multiple players vying for the same card combo but whoever matches up all dice first, wins the card and the corresponding points. Strategy and dice luck combined.

    Forbidden Island - by the same guy who made Pandemic and another coop game. Try to get the treasure before the island sinks. Play with different roles and abilities same as pandemic.

    Lost Cities - all in on coop games at this point since my wife is the main person I play with.

    Sleeping Queens - good for our soon to be 5 yr old and seems like a laugh.

    Spot it - good for both kids under 5 and can be played anywhere.

    Exploding Kittens - played with coworkers and thought it was fun and quick (15 mins)

    Bears vs Babies - will play with coworkers after vacations are over and seems ridiculous but fun



    For board game details I often check boardgamegeek.com

    For enhanced details, YouTube has great video overviews, the most entertaining ones Ive seen are Will Wheatons Table Top. Will and other friends in the industry such as Barry Krypky from Big Bang, Seth Green, comic writers, and such play the game providing rules and gameplay and great commentary (on the game AND each other).
    Last edited by Axel; Tue Sep 3rd, 2019, 07:21 AM.
    Heir, Prince of Cambridge

    If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.

  • #2
    good thread. if d&d counts, that's my jam. ran a table in china for 15 years. 5 main players every monday night. lived for those nights.

    i'm was big fan of warhammer:fantasy before age of sigmar made it 40k with bow and arrows. had a giant orcs and goblins army.

    i also really liked the game of life as a kid, probably my favourite.

    have never actually finished a game of monopoly.

    really liked clue.

    risk is one i played a lot too.

    if card games count i used to play a lot of magic, but hearthstone is better, and easier.

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    • #3
      Miekenstien wrote: View Post
      good thread. if d&d counts, that's my jam. ran a table in china for 15 years. 5 main players every monday night. lived for those nights.

      i'm was big fan of warhammer:fantasy before age of sigmar made it 40k with bow and arrows. had a giant orcs and goblins army.

      i also really liked the game of life as a kid, probably my favourite.

      have never actually finished a game of monopoly.

      really liked clue.

      risk is one i played a lot too.

      if card games count i used to play a lot of magic, but hearthstone is better, and easier.
      Ive never played D&D or Magic or Warhammer - probably would have passed as a kid but, Id totally be interested but just dont have the time to invest in long games. I love Risk but once your past University, its pretty damn hard to get a game going.

      I also love Game of Life. Simple yet enjoyable.
      Last edited by Axel; Tue Sep 3rd, 2019, 07:23 AM.
      Heir, Prince of Cambridge

      If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.

      Comment


      • #4
        Not quite a year since my OP, and there are lots of new additions to my collection.

        Legendary: Marvel
        King of Tokyo
        Smash Up
        Sentinels of the Multiverse
        Forbidden Island
        Sushi Go
        Exploding Kittens
        Small World

        Legendary Marvel



        If you are a big fan of the Marvel universe (and really, who isn't?) - then I propose the deck building game Legendary Marvel. There are actually multiple Legendary games (Aliens, Predator, Firefly, Buffy) but Marvel might be the most popular. Some of the others play differently (like Aliens which is technically called Legendary Encounters: Aliens) to follow a specific story line of various movies, but Marvel provides a great game play with various tweaks to the game that change the win/lose trigger, adding great variety.

        Marvel is a co-operative deck building game where each person starts with a hand of 8 Shield Agents and 4 Shield troopers. The agents provide +1 recruit and the troopers +1 attack. Each game is set up with a mastermind villain, a scheme, a villain deck, and a hero deck. The mastermind options in the base game (yes, lots of expansions) is the Red Skull, Dr Doom, Magento and Loki. Each mastermind has their own set of villains - Hydra, Doombots, Brotherhood of Mutants, and Enemies of Asgard. Depending on the number of players, you select various villain sets to make up the villain deck. So you can play a game where the villain deck is the Brotherhood of Mutants (cards like Mystique, Juggernaut, Sabretooth, and Blob) combined with Spider-foes (Doc Oct, Venom, Lizard) and Hydra. By combining different sets of villains you get different combinations to play against, again adding to the variety between each game.

        You then make the hero deck by choosing 5 different heroes. The choices with the base deck are quite good, with popular characters such as Spiderman, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Wolverine, Gambit, Black Widow, and Deadpool. All decks are "equal" but play differently and certain combinations play off of each other. For example, Hawkeye will often get a bonus (+1 attack) for each other Avenger played in your hand, so combining him with Captain America is more beneficial then with Rogue. The combos here are great and allow for varied fandoms to get their chance. The hero deck is then used to populate the HQ section of the board, with 5 cards shown and available for "recruitment" to your hand.

        Each turn, a villain card is played. There are 5 slots on the board for villains, and as new villains enter play, they slide down the board, potentially escaping out the end of the 5 slots. Depending on the scheme you play, too many villians escaping could be the way you lose (Negative Zone Prison Break for example), or it could be tied to other things (bystanders captured, cards run out, etc). The scheme options are largely based on main themes in the comics, so fans of Marvel comics will recognize them probably more so than the average movie fan. That said, one of the schemes is directly tied to the secret skrull invasion (Captain Marvel movie has the skrulls) which actually has hero's in the villain deck.

        I simply love this game. It plays well with 1 - 5 people and I often end up playing solo (playing multiple hands) because it is such a good game and my wife will only tolerate so much of one game. 19 expansions are available for this game, most recently in April was the release of Venom, and some of the expansions look epic. While many are small box expansions for specific characters (Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hulkverse, Spiderman homecoming) there are several big box expansions. Dark City was one of the first and nearly doubles the cards in the game and adds such awesome X-Men villains as Mr Sinister and Apocalypse as Mastermind villains. There is even an expansion called Villains which is essentially an entire new game which swaps the good and bad - you play as Magneto, Dr Oct, Venom, etc as you try to defeat the heroes. The cards are all really high quality cards (this game is made by Upper Deck) and is one of the, if not the, best deck building games out there. The game takes approximately 45 minutes to play, and set up involves a lot of shuffling to create and mix up the villain and hero deck (no fun if you never see one of your 5 heroes because you didn't shuffle them well) but is largely very simple to set up as pretty much everyone at the table should be able to shuffle some of the cards.


        King of Tokyo



        King of Tokyo is a fun dice rolling game where each player takes on the role of a different monster, as they battle to be the king of Tokyo. Players roll the custom dice to try and get the best combination of points, attack, energy (essentially $) or health as they decided to roll or re-roll dice (Yahtzee style). You can roll for energy which is used to buy cards which can provide extra health, attack, dice or points. Players can win by either reaching the points threshold or by simply being the last monster alive. This dual winning trigger allows for different strategies in the game. Each player has their own little board which has spin wheel tracking for health and points - which is a nice little feature for simple gameplay. The game doesn't take long, usually 20ish minutes so it's a great choice for a more casual game night. I have never won this game but always enjoy playing it. The rules are simple, the monsters are a bit goofy (Space Penguin and Cyber Kitty for example) and the game is quick - makes a great accessible game for people of all interests.

        Smash Up




        Smash Up is a game where each person takes control of two unique factions and combines them to have a unique deck to compete with other players to win points by scoring bases. There is no board, only cards. Several base cards are placed on the table, each with different rules and scoring. Each player plays a turn by simply doing 2 things; play a minion card and play an action card. That said, each card can impact other cards or allow you to play more cards, so no turn is ever as simple as it sounds. One of the best things about this game is that a lot of cards allow you to fuck with another player. Oh, allow me to destroy this card, or move this card somewhere else, or block your cards. The factions in the base game are groups like: zombies, aliens, pirates, wizards, dinosaurs and ninjas. There are tons of expansions which include of excellent license knock-offs like AstroKnights (complete with laser swords, a "walking carpet" and the ability to "use the fours"), Star Roamers ("port me up", "hyperspace 10") and Changerbots (more than meets the eye) but also good faction additions like werewolves, vampires, dragons and some weird ones like steampunk, mythic horses, teddy bears, grandmas, truckers and disco dancers. Surprisingly, my wife actually likes this game and we often play it with another couple (he has tons of expansions while I only have 2 - so far). The game is super straight forward in the sense, you play 2 cards, but with the massive spin off that whatever the card says, overrules any other rules. So simple turn of playing a single card can have massive implications on the game. The length of the game depends on the players. A two player game can be quite fast (20 mins) as it's first to 15 Victory Points, with bases often awarding between 3 - 5 VP for whoever scores the most points on a base. A base is scored when the cumulative scoring of all cards in play reach the base card break point total. Once a base is broken, who ever has the most individual points on it gets the first place VP, with top 3 usually scoring something on a card (5-4-3, 4-2-1, 3-2-0 would be common base card scoring). The more players the more variables get thrown in, but if players are looking at their hand and pre-planning moves (for the most part), the game play can move quite quickly. If you have someone in your group who doesn't think ahead of what is in their hand, then the game can take quite a while (hour or more for 4 player game). The game sounds weird when you explain it, but it's a quirky fun game with simple to learn rules but complex layers of strategy available which can change depending on what faction combinations you use.

        Small World



        Small World has been described as next level of risk, and I can certainly get that. Like Risk, it is a game where you try to take over territories that are either empty or held by opponents. But unlike Risk, there are no dice and instead of generic coloured cubes, you play as different races. The general theme behind this game is the rise and fall of different civilizations in a world that is too small to accommodate them all. So you play as a different race, such as orcs, giants, humans, wizards, amazons; each with different abilities (giants are stronger near mountains, dwarves get bonus points for controlling mines, etc) and then each race gets combined with another random ability. So instead of just being giants, you can be flying giants - which would allow you to attack places without having to be right beside it, or you can be diplomatic giants - which would allow you to select another race that cannot attack you until after your next turn (blocking them on their turn).

        At the start of each turn, you take the tiled pieces for your army (the number varies depending on race and ability) and attack. Any territory takes 2 tiles to conquer it, plus 1 tile for every other token on it (defender, mountain, fortress), so simple math instead of prolonged rolling. Each turn, you take over as much as you can. At the end of your turn, you count up your points and score them for each territory and bonus you earned. Then the next person goes and they could wipe out half your territories and score them for their-selves, but it doesn't alter you score from your turn (it just puts you in a worse starting point for your next turn). The game is played for a set number of rounds (9 rounds for a 4 player game). Eventually during the game, you will decide that you simply have taken your current race as far as they can go. Cool, no problem, as I said this is the "rise and fall of different civilizations". You flip over your race tokens to put it in decline and chose a new race to play as instead. Your race in decline stays on the board until they are defeated, so you can still score points from a race in decline. You can only have 1 race in decline at once.

        The objective of this game is to have the most coins (points) at the end. So while the territory control aspect of risk is there, the game is very different, with much different strategies in play (depending on your race's bonus criteria) and much clearer objective. The game comes with 2 different double sided boards, one for the different number of players (2, 3, 4 and 5) which is good because a 2 player game on a 5 player board would simply allow for too much space. The boards are well set up to ensure that you can't hide from people, also enhanced by the fact that there is no real starting point for players, you can enter from any edge of the board. The artwork is good and the game is a bit goofy (the dwarve on the cover of the box has a "nose bubble" for example). The tokens are good quality but there are a lot of them (coins come in 1, 3, 5 and 10 denominations). One aspect of the rules is that you must keep your coins face down, so no one actually knows the scores of each other. You have a general idea as it is counted on their turn, but by round 9, the player you might think is winning by a mile, is actually in 2nd or 3rd - which makes it harder for people to work together against a single player.

        That is a lot for a single post (and there are still many games left on my list from the beginning) so I am going to leave it at that for now, as I know dedicated fans (or just Miek apparently lol) of board games are anxious to hear more. There are a few purchases planned for the near future (couple expansions for legendary, couple of new games), but hopefully I will be able to get the full list on here.
        Last edited by Axel; Tue Sep 3rd, 2019, 09:44 AM.
        Heir, Prince of Cambridge

        If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.

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        • #5
          I'm more of a jigsaw puzzle guy than a board game guy (plus its just me and my wife typically, and I find most board games need at least 4 people). Any good two player games? I'm welcome to try something fun.

          But Clue is by far the one we go to if we need a fix. Monopoly is another one but takes too long (we start the game usually by creating teams of two and we randomly draw cards/properties and then barter/trade properties for cash, etc). Oh and we use Free Parking as a bonus. Anytime anyone owes the bank we throw that in the middle of the game. Key to monopoly is you need a lot of time and you need an impartial banker. The second is a lot harder to find than the first.

          Used to play Trivial Pursuit a tone growing up as well.

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          • #6
            planetmars wrote: View Post
            I'm more of a jigsaw puzzle guy than a board game guy (plus its just me and my wife typically, and I find most board games need at least 4 people). Any good two player games? I'm welcome to try something fun.
            Two player games that my wife and I play are:
            Pandemic (works well for 2-4)
            Sushi Go
            Forbidden Island
            Harry Potter Battles of Hogwarts
            Legendary Marvel

            As Sushi Go and Forbidden Island are ones that I havent posted about previously, Ill add a short version.

            Suhsi Go (we have Party edition which gives more options) is a game where players pick a card then pass the deck to the next person - this happens simultaneously for all players - so no waiting for your turn. Players are selecting cards to try and get the most points. The the cards are all sushi theme cute cartooned cards where points score differently. For example, tempura is worth 5 points but only if you can get a pair. Since we are sharing the same decks, other players will see when you choose your tempura and could try to block you from making the pair. For a 2 player game, you are using a hand of 10 cards per round and play 3 rounds so its a quick game. Even with 4 players it less than 30 minutes to play. Its quick, easy and the party edition offers more card options so more strategy variations. Definitely recommend this as a good game for couples.

            Forbidden Island is a cooperative game. Instead of a board, the game is set up with double sided tiles. The theme of the game is that your team is trying to capture the 4 treasures and escape from a sinking island. The island sinks when you draw a card for a specific tile, which is then flipped over to the flooded side. Draw a card for a flooded tile and the tile is removed from the game, which could be game over if its a key tile or the only path to a key tile. Because the board is tiles, it is set up differently each time. This game is by the same guy who created Pandemic and it plays very similarly but it easier to understand as there are fewer components to track. Games are fairly quick with 2 players - around 20 mins. Havent played with more players yet but its for 2-4 players.
            Last edited by Axel; Tue Sep 3rd, 2019, 07:24 AM.
            Heir, Prince of Cambridge

            If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.

            Comment


            • #7
              My beautiful thread has been mangled all to hell from the site transfer....guess I'll start a new one instead

              **UPDATE** Credit to Planetmars for pointing out that content didn't disappear in the site transfer, it just wasn't displaying correctly. So by quoting the posts, I was able to retrieve the content and edit the posts to show the full content once more.
              Last edited by Axel; Tue Sep 3rd, 2019, 07:25 AM.
              Heir, Prince of Cambridge

              If you see KeonClark in the wasteland, please share your food and water with him.

              Comment

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