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  1. #1
    Network Hub Hunchback's Avatar
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    Recommend me a board game

    Ok, i know that this is for PC gaming, and that there are the Cardboard Children articles, but first there's no other section of the forums that seems better suited, and second i haven't read all the CC articles so i still need recommendations.

    Here's what's up: It's my b-day in a couple of days, and some friends have asked me what i'd like as a gift. It's been a while that i've been pondering in my mind the idea of going back to some board gaming, but for adults (thanks to the CC articles, tbh i didn't know "serious" board games existed before). By "for adults" i mean something that requires intelligence and is complicated enough to be interesting for grown ups. I am getting a bit tired of "silly" games such as Monopoly and Pay Day...
    It doesn't have to of any particular theme, but i'd like it to be doable in an evening, as in get together with 3-4 friends and the wife, play the game, have some drinks and in 3-4 hours be done with it. I am an old D&D player, so naturally i love P&P RPGs, but sadly D&D tends to take too much preparation and time to fit in our current life-style (work, kids... ).

    Here's what i've seen in shops and in Cardboard Children, that seemed interesting:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mayfair-MFG3...tlers+of+catan

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Days-of-Wond...ds=small+world

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Android-Netr...android+runner

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spartacus-Ga...I2UCXBVCML7300

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Days-of-Wond...im_k_h_b_cs_83

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Z-Man-Games-...ds=small+world


    However, i don't really know anything about these games, and i am sure there are other (probably much better) that i have never heard of...


    Could you guys comment on the ones i listed, and if possible give suggestions?
    Last edited by Hunchback; 31-08-2013 at 05:08 PM.
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  2. #2
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    smaller party-able games: Zombie Dice and The Resistance.
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications & The Shopkeeper, an interactive short.

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

  3. #3
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    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardga...2/dragons-gold

    This is good and quick game. It's about slaying dragons with friends and then arguing how to split loot between each player.
    It sounds simple, but you have 60 seconds to make decision that all dragon-slaying players will accept, so (spoiler) it's hard as hell and if even one player will refuse to accept that decision - the loot is gone. And you have card that allow you to steal loot from table if no one see. Hell, you can do it anyway, but other players will probably kill you when they spot you.
    Last edited by GameCat; 31-08-2013 at 05:36 PM.

  4. #4
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    Well, that's really difficult to say, actually. What you and your group of friends may like is impossible to tell without further information. Do they want competitive games? Cooperative? Heavy games? Eurogames? Ameritrash? Dice? Cards? If they never played games, they might not even know themselves what they will end up liking. There's a reason why BGG has such a huge amount of categories, geeklists and whatnot. Finding games that suit your group of friends can be really difficult. (For me it is, atleast!)

    I don't know Zombie Dice, but the Resistance with 3-4 people is completely pointless. You need a larger group for that. (But then it can be amazing.)

    Commenting on the games you listed... Well, ticket to ride and settlers of catan are extremely easy and very casual "family"games. They are barely above the level of monopoly if you ask me. If you want something even remotely challenging I would stay away from them.

    Android:Netrunner is truly amazing, but only for 2 players.

    Small World might actually be a good choice - it's a rather casual "wargame" (wargamers might disagree), that's actually surprisingly deep and really replayable, despite being very easy to pick up. I personally love it. There's also not that much luck involved, compared to most "dudes on a map" games. (It's nearly diceless.)

    Spartacus is also quite good (as far as I know - only played it twice), but there's quite a lot of luck involved. If you want to screw over your friends though and roll a lot of dice it's pretty good. It's also easy to pick up and easy to teach. Challenging though, I dunno... (Alteast not for me, and I won both the games I played...)

    If you played D&D and want to play something along the lines of a dungeon crawler, there's plenty of games that fullfill that desire. I only know Descent (2.edition). It can be played with up to 5 people and one player plays the evil overlord with monsters and traps, and the other players play a party of heroes. It's not that complicated and offers enough hard strategic choices to be a challenge for each side.

    If you want a cooperative game, there's also a couple of really good ones, with a lot of replayability and serious challenges every time.
    My favorites are Ghost Stories and Space Alert. (The latter might too hardcore for your group though. Drinking during your game? Good luck surviving.)
    Last edited by ZeroMatter; 31-08-2013 at 05:54 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    some more recommendations: X-Wing if you like a fast spaceship combat game. a tad expensive, though. (a single ship costs 10€, but every ship is a force to be reckoned with, bunch of fun)

    Star Trek Fleet Captains is the closest you can get to BOTF on a boardgame. is more about performing missions than combat, can be a blast as soon as everyone realises the huge amount of options they can do. is very pricy, around 90€ for the boardgame, 40 for the expansion. (the boardgame alone is good enough, though)

    If you like Catan but never bothered to get the original, Star Trek catan is quite fun. its a mix of several catan and expansions, with a star trek look and feel. relatively cheap, 35€.
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications & The Shopkeeper, an interactive short.

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    I don't even play boardgames, and I enjoy Shut up and Sit Down, a board game show/site hosted by Paul Dean and QUINNS-BOT. It am here.

    I'd recommend poking around there, as they certainly seem to know their stuff, and give every game a fair hearing, without being shy to criticise.

  7. #7
    Network Hub Gerbick's Avatar
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    Of the games you linked to Hunchback, I own Small World and Ticket to Ride. Both are pretty straightforward to play, without hours of pre-game rule reading. Small World plays a bit quicker (45mins - an hour usually), and scales better for different number of players (a different map based on the number of players). I've only played Ticket a few times, but enjoyed it (and actually managed to beat my wife at a board game for the first time in years), and our games have taken over an hour (a 4-player and a 2-player game).

    Another game recommendation from my stash would be King of Tokyo - speedy games, easy rules (useful if drinking is involved :) ) and great artwork.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    Ticket to Ride is pretty fun. Tactically it's a medium depth game, but it is easy to pick up.

    I really like Munchkin. It's D&D styled, but silly. And there's a lot of backstabbing other players involved. However, it is definitely NOT for everyone.

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...80C7D2DC8D9B6C

    Tabletop on Youtube shows plays of some good board games, you can look up ticket to ride and munchkin there. Quite fun.

  9. #9
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    The typical recommendations for someone new to boardgaming are probably: Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, or Pandemic if you want a co-op game. They are all easy to learn, and work pretty well even with just 2 players (well, I dunno about Pandemic). Of those three, I would probably recommend Settlers as the first purchase since it features the most player interaction, however it (and Pandemic) only accomodates 4 players without an expansion. Bohnanza and Citadels are smaller card games that are excellent for beginners, and also feature substantially more player interaction than Carcassonne or TtR.

    Those games are fun, but can also be a bit dry. Galaxy Trucker is easy to learn (only up to 4 players without an expansion), insanely fun, and not at all dry. You can see how it is played (with all expansions, so the base game isn't quite as complex, also Quinns & Paul must be trying to build total shit ships) here: http://www.shutupandsitdown.com/vide...alaxy-trucker/

    Netrunner is 2-player only.

    As sinister agent mentioned, Shut Up & Sit Down is excellent. I would not recommend Spartacus based on their review. Licensed board games aren't quite the shitshow that licensed video games are (there are several well-regarded LotR games, in particluar), but I'd still probably steer clear. If you'd like more standard streamlined (but less fun) reviews, The Dice Tower is very extensive (www.dicetower.com).

    The ultimate site for everything you could ever possibly want to know about board games is boardgamegeek.com.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by limbeckd View Post
    The typical recommendations for someone new to boardgaming are probably: Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, or Pandemic if you want a co-op game.
    Yep, all good suggestions, Ticket to Ride would be my pick of those.

    As sinister agent mentioned, Shut Up & Sit Down is excellent. I would not recommend Spartacus based on their review. Licensed board games aren't quite the shitshow that licensed video games are (there are several well-regarded LotR games, in particluar), but I'd still probably steer clear.
    Spartacus is actually pretty good - not a perfect game by any means, but it's cheap given what's in the box, and if your entire group likes the TV show they'll really dig it as it's very thematic.

    Likewise the Battlestar Galactica game is fantastic. It's a bit more complicated than your average gateway game but again, if your group have seen and enjoyed the show it's wonderful.

    And as mentioned, if you enjoyed some D&D back in the day (and so did your friends) then Descent 2.0 is worth a look. You can get that D&D dungeon crawl feeling, with a persistent campaign, but with zero preparation and in handy 90 minute chunks.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    Last Night on Earth is a blast, and easy to play, and very rarely not lots of fun, dynamic changes every few turns, basically allows you to play your own Zombie B Movie.

    Fury of Dracula is brilliant although more complex

    Chaos in the Old World is a brilliant "Dudes on a map game", good balance between theme, military strategy and assymetric faction goals

    Would highly recommend any of them. All playable within an evening, with tons of replay value. They're all theme heavy, and luck plays its part (especially in Last Night on Earth), so if you're after something requiring more calculation then you might want to veer towards something more Eurogamey.
    Last edited by sonson; 31-08-2013 at 09:18 PM.

  12. #12
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    There is a boardgame called ASL(Advanced Squad Leader) you can get starter kits that are big in scope, Im mentiontioning ASL as its considered the best board wargame ever created

  13. #13
    Network Hub Prester John's Avatar
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    For a family friendly game i'd suggest Ticket to Ride as well - the rules are simple enough to explain to non boardgamers but theres enough depth to be fun plus a resonable playing time.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    I'm rather obsessed with board games and have tons to recommend. Hard to know where to start. If you lay down some details about what exactly you're looking for I'm sure folks here would have an easier time pointing you in a satisfying direction.

    It's hard to go wrong with anything by Days of Wonder (Small World, Ticket to Ride, Memoir '44 ...). They pick up excellent games, they don't futz about with licensing, and all of their games are quick to learn and filled with exquisite components. I can't think of any other major publishers that have as consistent a portfolio in terms of tone and quality.

    Board Gaming has much the same problem as video gaming. It's an expensive hobby and most of the products out there meet a minimum standard of "pretty enjoyable when you're in the right mood." You don't need a multi-hundred dollar device to start playing, but you also don't get crazy 80% off sales unless you do trades--which are dying out on BGG due to rampant shipping cost increases across the globe. You do, however, need a group of willing players but this is not so difficult to scrounge up as many people fear.

    Are you looking for a particular kind of experience? There are cooperative games, competitive games, games that work best with a particular number of players, games that scale up and down fairly easily, deep strategy games, light party games, games dripping with theme and story, games utterly bound up in their glorious mechanics with very simple themes, games that take minutes and games that take the whole 3-4 hours you're allowing. Games about big handfuls of dice and getting screwed by chance, games about careful planning, and games about knowing your friends and how to manipulate them. What combination of things sounds most appealing?

    Just to throw some names up, here are my top-four favorite board games I've played to date, in no particular order.

    1) Galaxy Trucker. It's competative for 2-4 players with a .75-2 hours adjustable play time. You build space-ships in a short, timed puzzle-race at the beginning of the game and then kick back and watch as the ships are torn apart by the trials and tribulations of space. Hopefully you make some credits along the way. The second part can be a bit boring for some people, and this is not a game for people who dislike randomness or dislike having their carefully built ships exploded by the cruel hand of fate. There's a lot of skill in ship-building, despite the heavy luck factor; enough skill that playing with players of significantly differing skill levels can be a lot less fun.

    2) Space Alert. Cooperative, for 2-5 players (4-5 is best), takes 2+ hours to really learn but technically only 20 minutes to play. That sounds awkward, but bear with me. Space Alert happens in real time. A soundtrack subjects you to the dangers of space, while you and your fellow players react by placing sequential actions face-down in your respective player spaces. You can communicate what you're doing (except when coms are down) and move things around on the ship to try and keep track of whats happening, but you never get to actually look at what other people have put down to check their work. At intervals, some of your cards are "locked in" so you can't look at or change them either. After 10 minutes, everything stops. Cards are revealed, and you "solve" the game step by step to see if you properly handled the dangers or if you died horribly in space. The answer is usually that you died horribly in space because someone forgot to jiggle the mouse on the main computer, the screensaver cut power to the ship, everyone fell over, and then the precise timing was thrown to hell--lasers fired from empty reactors, someone looked out the window instead of firing the missiles, Jim ran straight into a wall, Joe and Sally got stuck trying to use the grav lift at the same time, and the Giant Nebula Crab tore the ship in half. I wasn't kidding about the screensaver. Or anything else in that dramatization. That's stuff that can and will happen. All of it.

    And it only takes 10-20 minutes at a time! There's a tutorial that takes you through a series of missions, introducing new rules a couple at a time so you can get used to the real-time nature of the game without being overloaded. Walking through the tutorial has taken me anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours depending on how experienced the new players were with board games and how many Space Alert veterans were present. The tutorial is written in a hilarious, campy style as though you are space cadets at a really, really raw-deal of an academy. Valaada Chvatil writes delightful rule books.

    There's also an adorable fan-made flash-based turn processor that does your turns for you after the real time portion is over, but it has a couple bugs.

    3) Cosmic Encounter. Plays in roughly 2 hours, takes from 3-5 players (3-8 with expansions, best with 5). You'll never see all of Cosmic Encounter, even if you avoid the expansions. It's a competitive game of space-conquest with negotiation and alliances and back-stabbing ... but it isn't complicated grand strategy. It's distilled down to a simple game of throwing 1-4 ships against an opponent's 1-4 ships and playing numbered cards that add to your ship totals in secret to be simultaneously revealed in a simplistic bluffing game. All of a losers ships go to the Warp (a graveyard of sorts), and the attacker gains a colony on the defending planet. You can also play Negotiate cards that allow you 30 seconds to make a deal--as long as they also play a negotiate card because otherwise you automatically lose even with superior ship strength.

    There are a few more details but that's pretty much it. Get 5 colonies total across everyone else's systems and you win. Multiple players can win simultaneously. The catch is that the game has 50 alien powers each of which changes, fudges, adds, or straight-up breaks the game rules. The Zombie's ships just go home, they never got to the warp. The Virus multiplies it's attack cards by it's ships rather than adding the two together. Sorcerer can switch cards with the opponent before they are revealed. Oracle forces their opponent to play encounter cards face up. Fido can give people gifts from the discard pile and draws a card after every encounter; if the gift is accepted or gets to keep the gift if it's rejected. Sniveler (expansion alien) can whine whenever it has the least cards, colonies, or ships and force everyone to either agree it can have another or else everyone loses one of their own. Cosmic Encounter is awesome.

    4) Ghost Stories. A cooperative game for 1-4 players, plays in about 2 hours unless you die horribly and then it can be as short as half an hour. Ghost Stories is a brutally difficult game that takes place in a b-horror/martial arts setting. You defend a village from an army of ghosts led by Wu Feng who wants to recover his ashes and regain his evil, sorcerers, flesh. You are taoist monks each with a unique mystical ability. You run around a 3-3 village exorcising ghosts, unhaunting tiles, and calling upon the aid of villagers (each tile has a unique ability as well). You have to survive the drawing of 45 ghost cards, and then defeat the incarnation of Wu Feng himself (a super nasty ghost card) before the remaining 10 ghosts in the deck run out. You also have to make sure no more than two tiles are ever haunted at once and make sure than at least on taoist is alive at all times (you can resurrect your friends at the grave-yard ... unless it's haunted).

    It has some fiddliness to it so it can take a bit to learn properly. But it's an impeccable piece of design. I prefer it to the much vaunted Pandemic, a cooperative game about staving off a wave of virus outbreaks long enough to develop cures. Pandemic is a little easier both to teach and to win, and it's a theme many people find more immediately gripping. The art in Ghost Stories is far superior though and if you can get past the fiddly start, I think it provides much more interesting decisions and a much harder to "solve" puzzle which means you'll get to play more games where uncertainty creates tension because you genuinely won't know the correct answer. Once you get to the stage where ghost stories is just a puzzle of observation, it's two expansions are some of the most exquisitely designed expansions I've ever encountered. Both are modular, stay true to the heart of the game, and radically reshape it all at once.

    Antoine Bauza also designed the much-awarded 7 Wonders, a delightful game about talking a road trip on the old Tokaido road, and is generally one of the most skilled and flexible designers out there right now.



    Look up any games people mention over on Board Game Geek--it's a nice resource for finding more about the games mentioned and there are links to reviews and blog entries as well as sub-forums for every game in their data base which have reviews, session reports, rules clarifications, and discussions.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 01-09-2013 at 12:28 AM.
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  15. #15
    Lesser Hivemind Node Labbes's Avatar
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    Came here to make exactly the same recommendations as gwathdring. Get out of my head!
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  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node apricotsoup's Avatar
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    Cosmic encounter is one I'd get behind.

    For something lighter and introductory I'd suggest something like these:

    Love Letter: Dirt cheap and quick to play/teach, a good starting point for a light game. Works best with 3 or 4 players.

    King of Tokyo: I keep recommending this to everyone, it's a lovely themed game of giant monsters stomping over tokyo using a yatzee like system (but more fun). Plays well with 3-6 players and is again very quick to teach and usually lasts 15-30mins.

    Masquerade: 3-13 players sitting around a table laughing and being thoroughly confused is the order of the day here, probably works best with ~4-7. A good and fast working memory is a boon here but being able to read your friends can often be more useful. Slightly more advanced due to its chaotic nature but still fairly fast and easy.

    Of the games you mentioned I think small world is one that works best and if you can get behind the theme then the underground versions plays the best. Netrunner has been my favorite game for the past year but it has a much higher learning curve than most, which can be great as long as you have someone to keep up with you. The game kinda falls down if players are of different skill levels and it loses aspects if you're not engaged in the deck building aspect.

    For nice info my personal choice is http://www.shutupandsitdown.com/ which is lovely and easy to watch/read.
    The boardgame subreddit is also very friendly and a good place to read up on many different games as well as to ask nice questions.

  17. #17
    Network Hub Pertusaria's Avatar
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    Another recommendation for Shut Up and Sit Down here, but off the top of my head, a couple of games that I've enjoyed:

    Saboteur
    is a card game for 3-10 people that starts being a lot of fun around the time you have five or so people, which it sounds like you might have. The theme is that you're dwarfs trying to mine gold, but one or more of you is a saboteur trying to collapse the tunnels and otherwise cause havoc. Since all dwarfs are competing with each other to reach the gold first, it's not necessarily obvious who is sabotaging and who is just being a competitive player. More players gives more chance of at least one saboteur character being in play, which is why it's more fun.

    Alhambra is on the less-complicated end of the German board games spectrum. It's a game in which players buy and place building squares within towns (one per player) in order to score points.

    Understandably, you want to make a choice soon as your birthday's coming up, but for future purchases you might want to find out if there's a regular gaming group and/or an annual convention in or near your town, as those are great ways of trying before you buy. Hopefully you're not going to want just one board game. :)
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  18. #18
    Network Hub Hunchback's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great posts guys!

    Here's some more information:

    Our current friends circle is mostly limited to 6 people at a time, but more often than not we are 4.
    It'd be nice to have a game that can also be played by 2, so we could play with the wife, but i understand that most board games are designed to be played with more people so that's not a top priority. And there's always Netrunner, which looks very interesting.

    As for style of game - i am pretty much open to anything that's interesting. I guess co-op games are generally "nicer" for everyone, especially considering a bunch of our friends tend to be bad losers and over-argue about rules and stuff like that, which ends up pissing off everyone. Still, a good competitive game is always fun too.


    Now the questions:
    Looking at all those games suggested, i noticed that they tend to be quite expensive. More so than your regular PC game. And then there's also expansions for almost everything.
    Considering that, what's the replay value of those games? Also, to what point are the expansions important? I mean, compared to PC gaming is it like DLCs or more like actual PC game expansions?
    Concerning Netrunner - i am a bit confused, is it a trading card game? There's a lot of "booster pack"-like expansions i see... Do you have to keep buying boosters ala Magic The Gathering, or you can properly play with just the basic game and perhaps 1 or 2 packs more?
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  19. #19
    Network Hub Hunchback's Avatar
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    After a quick look at SU&SD i gotta say that those guys are one of the most deliciously mad people i've seen in my life. I wish they'd make more videos, i'd watch them just to see them be mad on camera! :D

    Other than that, the Village game looks really nice and like a good pick for a first serious board game.
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  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Considering that, what's the replay value of those games? Also, to what point are the expansions important? I mean, compared to PC gaming is it like DLCs or more like actual PC game expansions?

    Concerning Netrunner - i am a bit confused, is it a trading card game? There's a lot of "booster pack"-like expansions i see... Do you have to keep buying boosters ala Magic The Gathering, or you can properly play with just the basic game and perhaps 1 or 2 packs more?
    First part first. Board Games are expensive, yes. You can find them more or less cheaply depending on what online retailer you use and whether or not you're willing to buy used games off of Ebay or similar. That said, good board games have a long life. You don't have to worry about it running on future versions of windows for one thing. How replayable it is really comes down to you and the game. I've played about a dozen games of Cosmic Encounter and it still feels fresh every time (it has also been in print from one company or another since the 70s ... so consider that). One other thing to keep in mind is that you'll rarely play a games more than ... say once a week? Even then, if you play games once or twice a week and have multiple games to choose from, you're going to see each game far less than that. Taking a week or more in between plays works wonders for keeping the game fresh. You also have outs--you can give it away or sell it or trade it. No DRM to speak of. It's a big up-front investment, though, so if you can find a way to play games before you buy them? Do. Otherwise try to go with the safest bets, the games you're most certain you'll enjoy, over the games you think you'll enjoy the most. Though usually they're the same games. :)

    Expansions. It really depends on the game. Cosmic Encounter's expansions just add more stuff. If you love the base game, you'll love the expansions ... but most of the best aliens are in the base game--my fully expanded game has 90 aliens, takes up to 8 players, and has some fantastic add-ons I can throw in without intimidating new players at all ... but you don't need any of that stuff. Space Alert, on the other hand, has an expansion that makes the game even more brutal; the expansion is for people who have played the original to death and have started to find it too easy to win. Galaxy Trucker's expansions are similar in this regard though they each add a lot of cool things some of which can be slid into an intermediate game. You won't need expansions to most games; if you really love the sound of an expansion and the reviews you read about it and you've read the rules and they sound great? Go ahead and get the expansion when you can afford it. Otherwise, wait until the game needs freshening up which might take years and might never happen.


    As for Netrunner ... I have misgivings about the model. You can play with the base set just fine. It's a complete game. Personally, I find that none of the decks quite pop--several of them feel like they're missing something and there are whole mechanics in the rule book that don't appear in the base set while other mechanicssimply aren't very useful or interesting in the base set. The booster packs are non-random, so there's that. Fantasy Flight likes to pretend this fixes the biggest problem with CCGs, because everyone who buys the same boosters and deluxe expansions has the same cards. But there's still a sea of cards to wade through. The boosters have really weak theming making it difficult to know which pack would work best for your play style without sorting through individual cards. I love the mechanics of Netrunner, but it doesn't fix my biggest problems with CCGs. Fixing the random booster thing and the runaway singles market thing doesn't really earn the "Living Card Game" model my respect. I'd rather have a game that finds a way to make deck building more accessible and thematically coherent so that it doesn't gum up the works quite so much as the frothing tide of booster packs does in Netrunner. Failing that, I'd rather have the base-set be a little more robust.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 01-09-2013 at 01:11 PM.
    I think of [the Internet] as a grisly raw steak laid out on a porcelain benchtop in the sun, covered in chocolate hazelnut sauce. In the background plays Stardustís Music Sounds Better With You. Thereís lots of fog. --tomeoftom

    You ruined his point by putting it in context thatís cheating -bull0

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