Are boardgames fun anymore?

Ghost Whistler

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Picked up Marvel Champions

So far it's really good. Hopefully there's plenty of replayability out of the box given you only get 3 main villains.

It feels like the best iteration of the LCG format they've been crafting this past decade. The game is really easy to set up, unlike Arkham (gather that set, this set, the other, put that card from the previous scenario, then that card, build your deck, spend you xp, set the token bag, then read the text, then decide these things, then set up the starting locations, then...d100 SAN loss).

Really fun game with a ton of potential...until Marvel and Disney shit the bed and yank the license.
 

TristramEvans

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Looking forward to Marvel Crisis Protocol...
 

CRKrueger

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Depends on the type. As I mentioned before I define boardgames like this...
Does playing the game even remotely seem like something resembling the premise of the game?
If no, Eurotrash.
If yes, Ameritrash.

Does it contain anything remotely similar to what makes RPGs and Wargames fun?
If no, Eurotrash.
If yes, Ameritrash.
Eurotrash games are essentially a bait and switch and not worth my time. A game that says "Hey, this is a game about X!" and then is some exercise in math, or color, symbol and pattern matching...ugh.

Give me good ol' Ameritrash any day of the week. I think the big box games are getting a little out of hand, especially the RPG-Lite ones. I still find them fun, however, and if it's a game with minis I can use for RPGs, then that expensive box becomes a steal, especially with Kickstarter Stretch Goals.
 

Smith

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Picked up Marvel Champions

So far it's really good. Hopefully there's plenty of replayability out of the box given you only get 3 main villains.

It feels like the best iteration of the LCG format they've been crafting this past decade. The game is really easy to set up, unlike Arkham.

Really fun game with a ton of potential...until Marvel and Disney shit the bed and yank the license.
Colleagues and I are eyeing this one - we tend to gravitate towards co-op games for our lunch breaks, and Pandemic Legacy and Spirit Island are our top 2 games. We haven't tried a deck builder solitaire-ish game like this before so aren't sure if it's worth jumping in on. Hope to hear good things!
 

Edgewise

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I love my copy of Forbidden Stars. It’s a faction based 40k game of strategic space conquest. Super fiddly rules for combat and the factional differences are great enough that it can’t possibly be balanced. But it’s a glorious festival of cards, tokens, minis and board tiles, and the crunchy rules give so many opportunities for tricks and stunts. It’s like an advanced version of Blood Rage.

Unfortunately, it’s been out-of-print since FF lost the warhammer licenses. And one of my coworkers let his kid take my box out of the game closet and scatter the components to the corners of our lab. I’m not even sure I still have them all - there are so many.

Any fans of good old Cosmic Encounter? There’s a reason some people consider it one of the best board games of all time.
 

TristramEvans

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Depends on the type. As I mentioned before I define boardgames like this...
Does playing the game even remotely seem like something resembling the premise of the game?
If no, Eurotrash.
If yes, Ameritrash.

Does it contain anything remotely similar to what makes RPGs and Wargames fun?
If no, Eurotrash.
If yes, Ameritrash.
Eurotrash games are essentially a bait and switch and not worth my time. A game that says "Hey, this is a game about X!" and then is some exercise in math, or color, symbol and pattern matching...ugh.

Give me good ol' Ameritrash any day of the week. I think the big box games are getting a little out of hand, especially the RPG-Lite ones. I still find them fun, however, and if it's a game with minis I can use for RPGs, then that expensive box becomes a steal, especially with Kickstarter Stretch Goals.

Yeah, this is pretty much how I feel. If I want abstract, chess and Go will never really get old for me, don't even mind the occasional Connect 4 marathon, but I really crave some form of immersion from my games, even if that means something slightly different for a board and wargame than it does an RPG. An abstract numbers game doesn't push any of my buttons.
 

Baulderstone

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As someone who has spent quite a lot on board games, I think there is this idea that unless you play every game it is a waste.

I don't buy games I buy opportunities. Each game I have is a potential game I can play. And I play with a variety of people who all have different tastes. And maybe that game that is coop, heavy euro, that is best with 5 players and has a fishing theme never has the right group together to play it (hypothetical game, don't ask what it is cause there is nothing that matches it that I know of), but I still had the opportunity to play it and that is good with me.

Like as long as someone isn't spending money on stuff they can't afford, who cares you know.
I can agree with that. I just picked up the reprint of Dune. It might be a long shot to ever get a full complement of players to sit down all day to play it, but as it has cardboard chits rather than fancy miniatures, it was reasonably priced. I'd rather pick it and never get around to it than have the opportunity to play in ten years and find the license has expired again, and I have to get it used at a steep price.

Any fans of good old Cosmic Encounter? There’s a reason some people consider it one of the best board games of all time.
Great game. Dune is by the same people, and uses the same idea of each faction having their own special rules.
 

Brock Savage

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I would buy a weird fantasy Heroquest analogue in a heartbeat. If I was retired I'd build it myself complete with miniatures, cards, and Hirst Arts dungeon tiles.
 

Skywalker

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Yeah, this is pretty much how I feel. If I want abstract, chess and Go will never really get old for me, don't even mind the occasional Connect 4 marathon, but I really crave some form of immersion from my games, even if that means something slightly different for a board and wargame than it does an RPG. An abstract numbers game doesn't push any of my buttons.
As with all things though, this is a spectrum as there are very few pure Ameritrash or Eurogames.

Ameritrash games often benefit in using Eurogame mechanics. For example, Cyclades is an Ameritrash game of Greek mythological warfare that uses auctioning for the favour of the gods as a central mechanic. This auction mechanic is fun to play in and of itself, it reinforces the themes of the game, and also helps bundle what would otherwise be a long list of rules that would be hard to follow.

Likewise, many Eurogames benefit from following Ameritrash games by adding a strong focus on theme.
 

Smith

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Brass is my most recent game that emulates the AmeriEuro marriage. It's a eurogame at heart when you examine the mechanics and how you interact with other players, but it is absolutely dripping with the theme of an industrialising North-West England. Theoretically, it could just as easily be given a different slap of paint (galactic connections between colonies that build up resources, for example) and still play pretty much the same.

I am a huge fan of theme, and as a budding designer I can be smitten with a very well done mechanic in a board-game. Having the two in a single product is the ideal game for me.
 

TristramEvans

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As with all things though, this is a spectrum as there are very few pure Ameritrash or Eurogames.
Honestly, I only know the terms in passing, and am translating them as "abstract" and "less abstract".
 

Baulderstone

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As with all things though, this is a spectrum as there are very few pure Ameritrash or Eurogames.

Ameritrash games often benefit in using Eurogame mechanics. For example, Cyclades is an Ameritrash game of Greek mythological warfare that uses auctioning for the favour of the gods as a central mechanic. This auction mechanic is fun to play in and of itself, it reinforces the themes of the game, and also helps bundle what would otherwise be a long list of rules that would be hard to follow.

Likewise, many Eurogames benefit from following Ameritrash games by adding a strong focus on theme.
Discussions about games always suffer when people start talking about Abstract Label A vs. Abstract Label B rather than talking about actual specific games, which frequently aren't so easily categorized. It tends to lead to a lot of empty strawmanning.

One of my favorite European games is Formula De, which doesn't fit neatly into either category.
 

Edgewise

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Discussions about games always suffer when people start talking about Abstract Label A vs. Abstract Label B rather than talking about actual specific games, which frequently aren't so easily categorized.
Very true, but I still like to make fun of eurogames. "Oh look, I'm an 18th century Flemish weaver, and I've got to collect three ecru tokens in order to upgrade to a basse-lisse loom with a flying shuttle. I can barely contain my excitement!"
 
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Skywalker

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If you want to make fun of Eurogames, be my guest. I would start with:
 

Skywalker

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Honestly, I only know the terms in passing, and am translating them as "abstract" and "less abstract".
I always like to think of it as whether you start with theme or start with mechanics. A classic Ameritrash game starts with an idea and then develops mechanics to model that idea, often in an additive and haphazard way. A classic Eurogame starts with a mechanic and then adds thematic elements, often in a completely artificial way. They tend to be more abstract as there can be no theme or only a thin veneer of theme.

To give an example, Santorini is a classic Eurogame and used to look like:

1573073858686.png

It now looks like this, with a thin Greek Mythology theme attached:

1920px-Santorini_board_game.jpg

Its still mostly a Eurogame, but the addition of theme and cool components like an Ameritrash game makes it a better experience overall.
 

Dumarest

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I agree with Dumarest. You don't need the new shiny to have fun. Games like Puerto RIco, Settlers of Catan, Rail Baron and Manhatten are all inexpensive, fun to play and not that difficult to setup (though Rail Baron is out of print).
I'm not familiar with Rail Baron so I Googled it. Looks an awful lot like Empire Builder, a game we played the heck out of to the point that the board was getting worn out.
articleimage.jpg
One of my friends who played it with me regularly in high school still gets bestiality jokes made about him as a result of his penchant for acquiring sheep, allegedly to transport from one railroad hub to another. Dang, now I need to see if I can find a copy and get my kids to play it. So much fun!
 

Ladybird

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If you want to make fun of Eurogames, be my guest. I would start with:
I love playing Beans so much. It's deeply competitive, but the openness of the board state and the trades mean you have to play nicely with others. It's a great opener for an evening.
 

Ronnie Sanford

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I'm not familiar with Rail Baron so I Googled it. Looks an awful lot like Empire Builder, a game we played the heck out of to the point that the board was getting worn out.
One of my friends who played it with me regularly in high school still gets bestiality jokes made about him as a result of his penchant for acquiring sheep, allegedly to transport from one railroad hub to another. Dang, now I need to see if I can find a copy and get my kids to play it. So much fun!
Rail Baron rocks! Just the right combination of strategy and luck. The only bad thig is it can take a long time to play. One other thing - there are fan sites that sell alternate boards and maps for Rail Baron. Of course I like nearly everything I have ever played from the now defunct Avalon Hill!
 

Antiquation!

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The only board games I've ever enjoyed have been either largely cooperative (ala Zombiecide) and thematically strong, or more about playing the other players than the game itself (Diplomacy). Straight strategy games ala Ogre can be fun, with the right people and the right mindset. Any game that revolves around juggling currencies, deck building, victory point tallying or whatever earns my disinterest immediately (basically anything where the point is to game some arbitrary system as best you can).

Even those I enjoy, however, don't see much play these days. More than a lot of things, board games feel like a time and money sink I simply can't make room for in the way I could when I was younger. What free time I do have is imminently more valuable to me; I would rather spend it reading, or doing RPG-related stuff with my brother, or helping the wife clean. I suspect if/when I have kids that might change, as board games seem like a decent method to distract kids or spend some family time together.

As far as having friends over, we'd rather just watch a movie, play an RPG, or drink a lot and play Apples to Apples...
 

Necrozius

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5-minute Dungeon has made my family, my friends and my work colleagues all tremendously happy. That game has made me bond with coworkers more than any shitty retreat or personality test.

Board games still are fun. The cacophonous cheer today at work, that rocked the entire building, is proof enough for me. I had gamers and non-gamers alike shouting in joy together at our victory!!
 

Stan

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I wonder if it would be feasible to play a boardgame at the Pub, with players posting their moves and one person posting a photo update of the board at the end of every turn. Seems like it could be fun, though it would take a looooooong time to finish a game.
There are a few software packages that do that for you. It records your moves, then a file is emailed to the other player(s) who has the same software. It is very slow. I feel like it works best with wargames where each turn is supposed to be a month or a season. That way each player can take however long they want without the other player being impatient. But I think some of the boardgames have implementations.

They probably violate copyright (except for those with official representation) but most of the games played are out of print so it's overlooked. And wargame makers are probably just glad that anyone plays their games.

Cyberboard is an example, I'm blanking on the other names.

There are also several sites for managing diplomacy online.
 

Tommy Brownell

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5-minute Dungeon has made my family, my friends and my work colleagues all tremendously happy. That game has made me bond with coworkers more than any shitty retreat or personality test.

Board games still are fun. The cacophonous cheer today at work, that rocked the entire building, is proof enough for me. I had gamers and non-gamers alike shouting in joy together at our victory!!
I've been sooooo tempted to pick up the Marvel version of that.
 

Ladybird

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5-minute Dungeon has made my family, my friends and my work colleagues all tremendously happy. That game has made me bond with coworkers more than any shitty retreat or personality test.

Board games still are fun. The cacophonous cheer today at work, that rocked the entire building, is proof enough for me. I had gamers and non-gamers alike shouting in joy together at our victory!!
It's competitive rather than co-operative, but Dungeon Mayhem is a hell of a lot of fun. It's an all-on-all fight, some adventurers enter a dungeon, have a scrap, one leaves. It's simple but with enough scope for each deck to play pretty differently, and it's fast, a game is ten minutes or so.

Sadly I don't get to play it any more because after about twenty games, I've beat my friend who bought it about twenty times, with every deck (Including beating him with each deck over the course of a lunchtime).
 

E-Rocker

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For the past 5-10 years, board games have been one of my major hobbies; however, earlier this year I was feeling completely burned out on board games. If you'd asked me to play anything more complex than UNO, I would probably say "No, thanks." (Although I could probably still have been convinced to play the game No Thanks. I like that one a lot).

Now my best friend Wild Billy, who is not much of a board gamer, but is a huge horror fan, supported the Kickstarter for Monster Slaughter and received it relatively recently. I offered to be the one who learns the game and then teaches it to the group, since it's something I'm pretty competent at and Wild Billy struggles with. However, I kept putting it off, because, like I mentioned above, burned out on board games.

But now his birthday is coming up next week, and he really wants to play the game at his birthday party. So last weekend, I finally buckled down and learned the game. As I was doing the set-up, I felt it was overly complicated and we would both end up hating the game, but once I finished the set-up and actually tried playing (with myself playing the role of multiple players to simulate a multi-player game), it was fairly simple and actually, pretty... fun. I was quite pleasantly surprised to be enjoying a board game again. I even played it a second time, partly to get a better handle on the rules so I can teach it at the party, but also because I actually wanted to play it. I am happy to have rediscovered joy in something I thought I might have been completely done with.
 

Stan

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I understand. I've gone through phases where I like boardgames and wargames more than rpgs and phases where I like rpgs more. The breaks refresh me after getting burned out.


It's competitive rather than co-operative, but Dungeon Mayhem is a hell of a lot of fun. It's an all-on-all fight, some adventurers enter a dungeon, have a scrap, one leaves. It's simple but with enough scope for each deck to play pretty differently, and it's fast, a game is ten minutes or so.
Not only is this game quick fun, it's simple enough to teach to kids in a few minutes. I'm always on the lookout for games with short enough play time that kids won't get bored - and some of my older relatives with kid-like attention spans.
 

EmperorNorton

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I think Ameri vs Euro style board game is a little different than theme vs mechanics. Like there are some very very heavily themed Euro games. Dungeon Petz for example has a ton of theme, but is very much a Euro worker placement game.

Adrenaline has the most "Ameritrash" style theme you can think of (it's basically Quake Deathmatch the board game), but the mechanics are entirely Euro. It is pretty much an area control game.

Ameri vs Euro has a lot more to do with what the purpose of the game is than whether the theme is strong. This is probably the best description of what makes a game each style that I've seen.

But honestly, just like we get with RPGs, this is a bit more navelgazy than necessary :tongue:.

(Also, I tend to be what board gamers call an Omnigamer. I like Euros, Ameritrash, Party games, social deduction games, even some simple war games, etc. Pretty much anything can be pretty solid for me. the only thing I dislike are dry themeless euros. Euros with theme are amazing though).
 

Brock Savage

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For example, Cyclades is an Ameritrash game of Greek mythological warfare that uses auctioning for the favour of the gods as a central mechanic. This auction mechanic is fun to play in and of itself, it reinforces the themes of the game, and also helps bundle what would otherwise be a long list of rules that would be hard to follow.
I eyeball Cyclades every time I go to my FLGS but the only people I play board games with are non-gamers who won't handle anything more complex than say, Eldritch Horror. Thoughts?
 

Skywalker

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I eyeball Cyclades every time I go to my FLGS but the only people I play board games with are non-gamers who won't handle anything more complex than say, Eldritch Horror. Thoughts?
I love it. It allows me to play a Dudes on a Map board game that I love, but in a much kinder time frame and mental space than that kind of game traditionally requires.

Its much lighter than Eldritch Horror. The rulebook is 6 pages.

However, some caveats:
- The auction mechanic is the central mechanic to the point that gameplay revolves around it. I have seen people get frustrated with this as you literally can't attack and move armies unless you have successfully bid for Ares (or Poseidon). As such, a lot of the game is about draining all of your opponents cash in a bidding war, such that they can't do much with Ares even if they get him.
- There is also very much a brutal end game, where other players will often swoop on the first to get past the finish line.
- Despite all the monster miniatures, they don't feature too heavily in the game, and are more like event cards.

I wasn't worried too much by the first issue, but if you are then the issue can be helped by the Hades expansion (which I highly (highly) recommend) or the Titans expansion (which seems a popular choice).

If you want something closer to a traditional Dudes on a Map game but still has some of the benefits that Cyclades brings, then I hear Kemet is a popular option. Its heavier than Cyclades but still nimble when compared to something like Axis & Allies.
 

EmperorNorton

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Cyclades is part of a trilogy of dudes on a map games, and actually the one I like least from it. The second was Kemet, the third was Inis. They are all really well designed.

Inis is probably my favorite. It's a dudes on a map game that uses card drafting as its central mechanic. It's also kind of mastered that "simple rules, complex interactions" thing. It isn't that hard to play, but it is really hard to play well. There are multiple ways to win, and you kind of have to keep all of them in mind. Also when you fulfill a victory condition, you have to take a token saying you are going to win on your next turn. Kind of a "check" thing. Then other players can stop you. Etc etc. Really cool game. Also really cool art.

Kemet is more about Dudes on a Map than the other two, and is hyper aggressive as you only score points from winning battles as the attacker (sort of), or by holding very specific places on the map that people are then going to probably try to take from you, and its pretty cheap to build forces back up, in encourages constant offensives. The meat of the game though is the power tiles. You basically have a giant bunch of tiles you can buy that give you different abilities/powers/monsters for your forces, and each person's army gets more and more unique as the game goes on. Like the exception to the only winning points for winning as the attacker, there is a power tile that lets you do it as an attacker. There are some that give you monster units that do cool things. There are ones that change how you can recruit, or teleport around the map, etc.

Cyclades Skywalker already covered. I wasn't fond of the bidding mechanic to be honest, but its still a good game.
 

Skywalker

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Inis is also great. Though it’s less dudes on a map than the other two IMO.
 

Ghost Whistler

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Colleagues and I are eyeing this one - we tend to gravitate towards co-op games for our lunch breaks, and Pandemic Legacy and Spirit Island are our top 2 games. We haven't tried a deck builder solitaire-ish game like this before so aren't sure if it's worth jumping in on. Hope to hear good things!
I think it's really good. The idea of having two modes for your hero makes the choice as to whether to 'allow' the enemy to attack or scheme is always interesting. There's a mechanic where, for ally cards (Daredevil for instance), they can either attack or thwart (remove threat from a scheme), but either or both will cause them to take 'consequential damage' meaning you cannot rely on them to repeatedly help you. Sooner or later they will go.

I also think they have balanced the amount of damage and threat that you can face/deal very well. I have yet to feel any point in the game where it was egregious or just ineffectual. So this is the first game of this kind where i've felt that every choice has been plainly meaningful. The encounter deck can be harsh (if the villain schemes twice you are looking at a real problem!) but unlike Arkham it doesn't feel like a 'screw you' deck which in the end is how i felt about that game, partly because of the token system.
 

CRKrueger

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I think Ameri vs Euro style board game is a little different than theme vs mechanics. Like there are some very very heavily themed Euro games. Dungeon Petz for example has a ton of theme, but is very much a Euro worker placement game.

Adrenaline has the most "Ameritrash" style theme you can think of (it's basically Quake Deathmatch the board game), but the mechanics are entirely Euro. It is pretty much an area control game.

Ameri vs Euro has a lot more to do with what the purpose of the game is than whether the theme is strong. This is probably the best description of what makes a game each style that I've seen.

But honestly, just like we get with RPGs, this is a bit more navelgazy than necessary :tongue:.

(Also, I tend to be what board gamers call an Omnigamer. I like Euros, Ameritrash, Party games, social deduction games, even some simple war games, etc. Pretty much anything can be pretty solid for me. the only thing I dislike are dry themeless euros. Euros with theme are amazing though).
That’s a great read. That’s why I like good theory. My definition works pretty well I think, but that article lays out in detail *Why* I think my definition works.
 
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