Are boardgames fun anymore?

Belle Sorciere

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You really don't need AoE to beat Matriarch. You don't need specific heroes or hero types to win against specific villains. Some heroes do better against some villains, but it's not an ironclad requirement wherein you'll automatically lose if you don't bring the right combination of characters.

There also isn't always an obviously "most optimal play" to make in any given situation, although I've seen that claim made before. It just doesn't play out that way in my experience. Edit: Specifically, sometimes what looks super optimal turns out to not work out so well based on other factors.

And I've played it solo with 3, 4, and 5 hands. I find I prefer to play the video game solo simply because it tracks everything, but it's not necessarily a problem that a co-op game doesn't have a specific solo mode.

Anyway, I'm going to apologize here if this comes off too contrary, I've just found Sentinels to be quite enjoyable and thematic, but I do realize not everyone experiences it the same way.
 
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xanther

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"Are boardgames fun anymore?"

No. As age slowly creeps upon us, the joys of youth are diminished under the weight of banality, with only the desperate attempts to avoid adult responsibilities causing people to cling to the vestiges of childhood in a futile attempt to replicate experiences forever lost to us like tears in the rain, clinging desperately to an idealized yesteryear built in our imaginations on a scaffolding erected from denial of the accumulated pains and heartbreaks that erode the soul as we spiral towards the inevitable end.
You say that likes its a bad thing. :smile:
 

Ghost Whistler

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You really don't need AoE to beat Matriarch. You don't need specific heroes or hero types to win against specific villains. Some heroes do better against some villains, but it's not an ironclad requirement wherein you'll automatically lose if you don't bring the right combination of characters.

There also isn't always an obviously "most optimal play" to make in any given situation, although I've seen that claim made before. It just doesn't play out that way in my experience. Edit: Specifically, sometimes what looks super optimal turns out to not work out so well based on other factors.

And I've played it solo with 3, 4, and 5 hands. I find I prefer to play the video game solo simply because it tracks everything, but it's not necessarily a problem that a co-op game doesn't have a specific solo mode.

Anyway, I'm going to apologize here if this comes off too contrary, I've just found Sentinels to be quite enjoyable and thematic, but I do realize not everyone experiences it the same way.
That was just one example.

The game is eminently exploitable in a way that isn't thematic. There are optimal choices of heroes against whichever villain you choose to play.

Marvel Legendary is worse. That game is simply too easy and offers no real challenge or even much interaction, which is a shame because it's fun in all other respects.
 

Black Leaf

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I think my problem is that the modern kickstarter-fuelled production has spoiled me. I'm a sucker for production values, so when I see an adventure game with sumtpuous art, miniatures and components, it's like watching a movie and I expect that game experience to be just as rich. I expect to participate in a full world experience. Of course games aren't quite like that.
Honestly, yeah, I think that is part of your problem then.

Personally I've found the era of high production values has worked against thematic immersion, not for it. Some of the most thematic experiences I've had have been from a paper map and chits.
 

Ghost Whistler

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Honestly, yeah, I think that is part of your problem then.

Personally I've found the era of high production values has worked against thematic immersion, not for it. Some of the most thematic experiences I've had have been from a paper map and chits.
I like the high production values; the arts and components. I don't necessarily need minis and have no interest in assembling or painting, but, for better or worse, I do like to have smart values. Of course back in the day, when I was playing the old GW games like Chainsaw Warrior and Block Mania, I didn't know any better. But visual stimuli is important to me.
 

xanther

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Alien Frontiers
and
Terraforming Mars
are good board games in the 60 USD range that have nice components and graphics, but do not take forever to set up.

Space Empires is a great 4x game with quick set up as well, but a game can take 3 hours.
 

Belle Sorciere

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That was just one example.

The game is eminently exploitable in a way that isn't thematic. There are optimal choices of heroes against whichever villain you choose to play.
All I can say is that my experiences in playing the game on Steam, on my tablet, and in analog cardboard over the past four years has been different.

Not that there aren't optimal choices, but I don't think this actually qualifies as a real flaw as numerous games have "optimal choices" for various situations. You can have two players sit in Atlanta in Pandemic and win the game just by drawing and trading cards (Researcher and Scientist, although it helps to have the medic and another player to take care of the cubes).

Also, even with AOE in your one example you have to deal with the fact that Matriarch often deals damage to anyone who kills one of her birds, or even everyone when someone kills one of her birds. Plus some characters can even render the birds irrelevant through adding damage reduction. There's more than one way to fight any given villain, and countless ways to win. If the game required you to play optimal teams to win against any given villain, I could see that as a flaw, but that's simply not the case.

Further, the game has environments, and each environment changes the way things play out - and an easy win in one environment might be harder with another simply because the environment itself is more hostile or simply debuffs you in ways that interfere with your preferred strategy.

The game is also quite thematic the majority of the time, which is one reason why it's so well loved by so many people at this point.
 

Ladybird

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Alien Frontiers
and
Terraforming Mars
are good board games in the 60 USD range that have nice components and graphics, but do not take forever to set up.

Space Empires is a great 4x game with quick set up as well, but a game can take 3 hours.
TM is fantastic, but there are some properly broken combos that we don't know how to work around yet, and the way that the projects deck works means it's really, really hard to use it to counter someone's plans.

Last game, we were playing with some expansion that gave us some pre-game benefit cards; I got Tharsis Republic as my corp ("Build cities, get more income, build more cities") and benefit cards that gave me free starting cities, and it was just... easy mode. Build cities, build greenery, repeat, and I had enough that nobody could put down greenery without benefiting me too.

We had another board with space colonies, but while everyone else was busy trying to work that minigame into their plans, I just kept on building cities and planting trees because space had nothing for me.

I won by ten points or so, and it would have been more if I had played more optimally, but I didn't really feel fulfilled by it, like other games where I have lost.

Still want to play again though.
 

Ghost Whistler

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Upon pondering the game's I'd really like to play: Star Wars Rebellion (because it's Star Wars Rebellion), Rising Sun (just looks awesome), and The Others. Blood Rage as an honourable mention.

I just can't justify paying that money for a game that I might get to play once in a blue moon. Another issue with these big box extravaganzas is presenting these games to people who aren't familiar, getting them up to speed, and hoping they'll be as interested as me, the person spending all the money! :grin:

They do look good
 

Tommy Brownell

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The only ones I've played in the Top 10 are Darkest Night and Shadows of Brimstone. Darkest Night got old for me, and SoB was the most disappointing Kickstarter I ever backed.

That said, Street Masters is underrated at 15 and Legendary (Marvel, specifically) is my top solo game (and favorite game, period).
 

Ghost Whistler

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I'd like to try Streetmasters but it's not out yet

If Brimstone is as bad as their others games...no thanks. It's just random rubbish with an awful soundtrack CD (why do they bother?)
 

KrakaJak

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Hmmm, you've talked about seeing the wires and mechanics of board games, but like the "immersion" of RPGs. Have you tried looking at more social-strategy/deduction or negotiation style games?

I'd recommend City of Horror if you want more mechanics and mean negotiations. Resistance: Avalon can be had for a pittance and is a gold standard for social-deduction games. For me, these end up being the games I'm the most "immersed" in as me, my friends, and our personalities and biases are the mechanics.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I'd like to try Streetmasters but it's not out yet

If Brimstone is as bad as their others games...no thanks. It's just random rubbish with an awful soundtrack CD (why do they bother?)
I don't actually know if Street Masters is ever getting a retail release. Seems like more and more smaller companies are getting shut out of the retail chain.

I really love A Touch of Evil by Flying Frog. That's in my all time Top 3.
 

Séadna

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The only ones I've played in the Top 10 are Darkest Night and Shadows of Brimstone. Darkest Night got old for me, and SoB was the most disappointing Kickstarter I ever backed.

That said, Street Masters is underrated at 15 and Legendary (Marvel, specifically) is my top solo game (and favorite game, period).
From people I know Mage Knight and Spirit Island seem to be the "hit" solo RPGs, though I quite liked Viticulture. Mage Knight is quite heavy, but it seems to be the King of solo games.
 

Ghost Whistler

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Hmmm, you've talked about seeing the wires and mechanics of board games, but like the "immersion" of RPGs. Have you tried looking at more social-strategy/deduction or negotiation style games?

I'd recommend City of Horror if you want more mechanics and mean negotiations. Resistance: Avalon can be had for a pittance and is a gold standard for social-deduction games. For me, these end up being the games I'm the most "immersed" in as me, my friends, and our personalities and biases are the mechanics.
We play a little Coup from time to time. It's ok. But most of those games need more players than we have.

Anyway, I think I need to play more rpg's
 

Belle Sorciere

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The only ones I've played in the Top 10 are Darkest Night and Shadows of Brimstone. Darkest Night got old for me, and SoB was the most disappointing Kickstarter I ever backed.

That said, Street Masters is underrated at 15 and Legendary (Marvel, specifically) is my top solo game (and favorite game, period).
1. I want to try Mage Knight: The Board Game.
2. I love Spirit Island
3. No opinion on this.
4. I have the Scythe DLC on TTS and I intend to try the solo mode out.
5. Planning to buy Gloomhaven
6. No opinion.
7. Arkham Horror is pretty great, but I don't own it.
8-10. No opinion.
13. Aeon's End is my current favorite game.
15. I really want to try Eldritch Horror.
16. I love One Deck Dungeon but sometimes I feel like it's an acquired taste. Its greatest weakness (randomness of dice rolls) can largely be mitigated through skills that let you control the dice.
17. Want to try Race for the Galaxy.
22. Want to try Renegade.
24. I love Pandemic and can't play it often enough.
 

daniel_ream

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I'm wondering if legacy games like Risk Legacy, Pandemic Legacy, Seafall and Charterstone would scratch the RPG-but-not itch people are describing. I've not seen them mentioned yet.
 

Erstwhile

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Belle Sorciere said:
15. I really want to try Eldritch Horror.
In terms of dollar-to-enjoyment, Eldritch Horror is probably the best non-RPG money I've ever spent, and that's even with FFG's bullshit expansion-fuelled business model. You do need at least the first small expansion (Forsaken Lore) to have any reasonable replay value, though. It plays more cleanly and quickly (and IMO more interestingly) than the Arkham Horror board game. Production values are good but not Kickstarter awesome, and I much prefer Eldritch to more scenario-based games like Mansions of Madness because Eldritch has much greater replay value IMO. It is very much a board game, though, and much of what you do is based upon minimizing risk - and it's not as tightly designed as, say, Pandemic; there's a lot of chaos and randomness in Eldritch Horror. But I certainly love it to bits. Tentacled, squamous, world-destroying bits.

Ghost Whister said:
Upon pondering the game's I'd really like to play: Star Wars Rebellion (because it's Star Wars Rebellion), Rising Sun (just looks awesome), and The Others. Blood Rage as an honourable mention
I backed the Rising Sun Kickstarter and the game is unquestionably beautiful, especially with the Daimyo Box (I want my little 3-D tortoise castles, dammit). I hope at some point to use some of the monsters as minis in a Legend of the Five Rings game. The downside is that you really need at least four players to make the game worthwhile and use the alliance system to its full potential, and the bidding/bluff mechanic used to resolve combat isn't to everyone's taste.
 

Dumarest

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Playing Star Wars Clue with the kids, a fun variation on the original wherein the players are Rebels trying to escape the Death Star.
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Skywalker

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I picked up Haven on the weekend. A great 2 player game, that is playable in 30-45 minutes and absolutely oozes theme (in this case a Princess Mononoke style battle over a forest between city dwellers and a forest folk).

Plus the price is an affordable $25.

 

Voros

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I picked up Haven on the weekend. A great 2 player game, that is playable in 30-45 minutes and absolutely oozes theme (in this case a Princess Mononoke style battle over a forest between city dwellers and a forest folk).

Plus the price is an affordable $25.

I'm a fan of Red Raven games and want to pick that up along with another nifty looking Euro game I saw in the store and watched some video reviews of called Silk.

7733

 

Ladybird

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I used to play Star Fleet Battles.
I reckon you're going to have a really, really good time with it, then.

These days I'd say to pick up the Ultimate Edition, because it's in print and has everything in one box, all from one print run (There were issues with earlier runs where cards and tokens didn't quite match up). It's expensive, but it's worth it.
 

Raleel

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Both of those are games that interest me. But they are both games that won't get played enough, as multiplayer games, to justify the investment. Conan especially, even though I really like the look of the mechanics.
There is an add on book that came out as a pairing for his from Modiphius. Part of it included rules for solo and coop play. https://www.modiphius.net/products/conan-the-monolith-sourcebook

I would recommend giving that a go. I own the big set of the Conan board games and it’s solid. It’s less fiddle than Gloomhaven for bits by a fair chunk, though it’s still a bit to set up. It’s pieces are all high quality and useful in RPGs. The colored rings they use to denote minor opponents in groups are quite handy if you use mook rules anywhere. The boards make pretty solid action zones for some games.

For me, these games that try to be RPGs by getting rid of the GM lack story and memories. They are never going to have my player who maybe had a child who was the spawn of a dark god. They will never have Sabitha, the traitorous wench who backstabbed the party and stole a lot of money. They won’t ever have us sneaking into a Nazi compound by impersonating Hitler and Goebbels.

I just won’t remember one game to the next, and neither will anyone in my group. They are a time filler, and fun for what they do, and get together friends when the GM can’t run (even if he is there). But they are pretty ephemeral as a whole.
 

Skywalker

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I'm a fan of Red Raven games and want to pick that up along with another nifty looking Euro game I saw in the store and watched some video reviews of called Silk.
Dice Tower gave this a mixed review:
 

Voros

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Dice Tower gave this a mixed review:
Zee isn't usually a fan of abstract games. The Man vs. Meeple explanation of the rules sounds like they aren't too intricate for my tastes. I'm also okay with dice randomizing in a game.
 

Belle Sorciere

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There is an add on book that came out as a pairing for his from Modiphius. Part of it included rules for solo and coop play. https://www.modiphius.net/products/conan-the-monolith-sourcebook

I would recommend giving that a go. I own the big set of the Conan board games and it’s solid. It’s less fiddle than Gloomhaven for bits by a fair chunk, though it’s still a bit to set up. It’s pieces are all high quality and useful in RPGs. The colored rings they use to denote minor opponents in groups are quite handy if you use mook rules anywhere. The boards make pretty solid action zones for some games.

For me, these games that try to be RPGs by getting rid of the GM lack story and memories. They are never going to have my player who maybe had a child who was the spawn of a dark god. They will never have Sabitha, the traitorous wench who backstabbed the party and stole a lot of money. They won’t ever have us sneaking into a Nazi compound by impersonating Hitler and Goebbels.

I just won’t remember one game to the next, and neither will anyone in my group. They are a time filler, and fun for what they do, and get together friends when the GM can’t run (even if he is there). But they are pretty ephemeral as a whole.
I guess if you approach them that way, then you'll get that impression, but I don't really get the same sense from those games, and know more than a few people who have had a great time with them.
 

Raleel

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know more than a few people who have had a great time with them.
As my folks do. But for my group they don’t last. They don’t provoke a memory. And if it does for you, great!
 

Ladybird

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As my folks do. But for my group they don’t last. They don’t provoke a memory. And if it does for you, great!
A lot of RPG sessions are forgettable too, though. It’s few sessions and characters that stick well.
 

Raleel

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A lot of RPG sessions are forgettable too, though. It’s few sessions and characters that stick well.
Sure, though I can remember most of them in he last half decade, and I can remember some of them from 30 years ago. As I said above, for me board games don’t do this st all. I struggle to keep track of the different times I’ve played Conan or gloomhaven past the most recent one, or what happened when we played that kaiju board game. A diversion, but not really a creation, perhaps.
 

Skywalker

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Here's another good option for a thematic game which also scales down to solo mode. Its based on Pandemic but has been changed to model the invasion of barbarian tribes on Rome. Good value too at USD50.

 

Voros

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Here's another good option for a thematic game which also scales down to solo mode. Its based on Pandemic but has been changed to model the invasion of barbarian tribes on Rome. Good value too at USD50.

Purty
 
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