I think I'm enjoying boardgames more than RPGs these days

silva

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Since I met these thematic boardgames full of roleplayish elements like Mansions of Madness, Arkham Horror, Netrunner, Shinobigami, etc. I came to enjoy them more than fullly-fledged tabletop RPGs. Can't precise the reason but I guess these games have a greater action-to-wait ratio than RPGs and these days it's something I value mightly. I don't have much patience anymore for waiting while playing, be it in those hour long chargens, or listening for some morose description by the GM, or some slows as fuck combat system. While in these boardgames things usually flies super fast and I'm always acting and taking decisions.

So how about you guys and gals? Anynone else with similar feelings?

P.S: by the way, when did this roleplayish crop of boardgames appeared? One moment it's Catan and Monopoly etc and then BOOM some flavorful as fuck boardgames that clearly drinked from tabletop RPGs. I didn't see it hapenning.
 

tenbones

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I think it's been around for a while? Dungeon!, Talisman for example have been around for decades. I think it's a convergence of people getting into "gaming" writ-large, video-games, and in the RPG space you had 4e pushing the envelope... but probably too far? But boardgaming really has hit its boom-era. Easy to play, pick up/put down factor is high, less "work" to deal with than a traditional TTRPG.

It probably just *finally* happened naturally.
 

Stan

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Over time, I tend to shift from boardgames/wargames to rpgs, then back. Several months go by when I'm really into one but not the other.

We are in virtually a golden age for boardgames given the variety and number coming out. Far less stupid monopoly style games where you have little decision making. Yea, there's quite a bit of overpriced crap, too but there's enough options to satisfy most tastes.
 
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Skywalker

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These narrative board games have been around for a while. There are arguably some around for decades but it was Mansions of Madness 1e that was the first that I really felt competed in the RPG space and that was released almost 10 years ago. Before that, there was Betrayal at the House on the Hill, which was pretty close too.

My current favourite is TIME Stories which I find makes a greater filler RPG session.

I enjoy them a lot but over time I have come to realise that they won’t ever be able to scratch the itch that RPGs do as they lack the essential element of freedom that RPGs have which makes them unique. At best, they are a good alternative much like a computer game or solo adventure book like Lone Wolf.

You may want to have a look at your RPGing practices too to see what they lack that the board games are doing. I found PbtA RPGs add much of the elements that make board games appeal to my RPG sessions, and I know you are a fan of them as well.
 

spittingimage

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I used to play the odd boardgame with friends. Then my wife, a true hardcore boardgamer, tried to get me into her gaming group. After a little while I realised these people had managed to almost completely suck the concept of fun out of my universe and I dropped out. Now I play, like, a boardgame a year.
 

Antiquation!

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I used to play the odd boardgame with friends. Then my wife, a true hardcore boardgamer, tried to get me into her gaming group. After a little while I realised these people had managed to almost completely suck the concept of fun out of my universe and I dropped out. Now I play, like, a boardgame a year.
This is my experience as well, except that BOTH my wife and I hate the board gaming thing (outside a few narrow exceptions) and the culture. Her brother is neck-deep in it though; he goes to all the local conventions and hosts panels and demos, buys every new game that comes out, and never fails to bring stacks of 6-10 games for every family dinner (which in ritual fashion, everyone is forced to play after Thanksgiving/Christmas/Birthday dinners).

It has become an ongoing strategy for me and my wife to plan an escape route with exacting timing; right after dinner and before things get set up and the "board game training" starts (what I call the agonizing 45-minute period before the game actually begins, where rules are being explained repeatedly and 'practice rounds' being run through), avoid the mother-in-law because if she sees us she'll ask me to guilt my wife into playing (she hates the competitive atmosphere even more than I do, particularly as her brother is VERY good at them and loves to trounce people).

We've come up with our own coded gestures and signals for when to make a break for it...
 
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Simlasa

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I enjoy them a lot but over time I have come to realise that they won’t ever be able to scratch the itch that RPGs do as they lack the essential element of freedom that RPGs have which makes them unique. At best, they are a good alternative much like a computer game or solo adventure book like Lone Wolf.
That's been my feeling too.
I've bought into Shadows of Brimstone, and that's been fun... but even before I played it I found myself straining at the edge of its boundaries, wanting a wider exploration of its setting than the little tiles of the game will allow. To the point that I have been thinking I want to read up on Deadlands and some of the other weird west RPGs.
Things like Skyrim and World of Warcraft were fun, but also made it painfully obvious to me how limited they were... and how superior TTRPGs were for the sort of experience I wanted.

I'm not really part of the modern boardgames culture though. I was going to a boardgame Meetup and played a bunch of the popular ones... and I enjoyed that without feeling the need to own all of them. But that was before the current crop of Youtubers frenetically advertising their latest love, while standing in front of a vast wall of boardgame boxes. Those guys seem to LOVE everything that comes across their table and make it feel like you're not keeping up if you're not actively collecting.
 
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AsenRG

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Since I met these thematic boardgames full of roleplayish elements like Mansions of Madness, Arkham Horror, Netrunner, Shinobigami, etc. I came to enjoy them more than fullly-fledged tabletop RPGs. Can't precise the reason but I guess these games have a greater action-to-wait ratio than RPGs and these days it's something I value mightly. I don't have much patience anymore for waiting while playing, be it in those hour long chargens, or listening for some morose description by the GM, or some slows as fuck combat system. While in these boardgames things usually flies super fast and I'm always acting and taking decisions.

So how about you guys and gals? Anynone else with similar feelings?

P.S: by the way, when did this roleplayish crop of boardgames appeared? One moment it's Catan and Monopoly etc and then BOOM some flavorful as fuck boardgames that clearly drinked from tabletop RPGs. I didn't see it hapenning.
I used to play the odd boardgame with friends. Then my wife, a true hardcore boardgamer, tried to get me into her gaming group. After a little while I realised these people had managed to almost completely suck the concept of fun out of my universe and I dropped out. Now I play, like, a boardgame a year.
Bottomline, play what damnedst well pleases thou, unless thou art getting paid!
 

TristramEvans

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There's one experience that is unique to RPGs, but increasingly a number of RPGs and RPG players are not interested in that experience, and as such, RPGs don't provide anything unique for them that they cannot get from a boardgame or videogame.

I enjoy many boardgames, just as I enjoy miniature wargames, but it's a different hobby, a different experience.
 

Ostilio

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I don't have much patience anymore for waiting while playing, be it in those hour long chargens, or listening for some morose description by the GM, or some slows as fuck combat system.
Same here. That's why I mostly run these days.
We also indulge in brain burning boardgames prone to analysis paralysis.
What I'd like to port from bg to rpg at my table is the gm-less experience.
I found the Cthlhu themed co-op boardgames quite boring, to be honest. For that I totally prefer rpgs. Gumshoe it is, we are currently playing.
 

Caesar Slaad

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I have a couples gaming group where I often bring “RPG adjacent” cooperative games with character. I secretly hope to entice this group into making the jump, but so far it doesn’t seem like it is going to happen.

I don’t still enjoy RPGs more, but it’s an okay way to get an alternate fix.
 

TJS

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I've had others in my gaming cirle that have felt the same way. To me personally, it's somewhat incomprehensible.

Same here. That's why I mostly run these days.
To me also. (Although to my my mind the difference is between a rpg where I may be waiting ages for something to happen and board games where I'm waiting just as long, but for nothing to happen.)

I have to admit, I'm increasingly bored by playing in games, and I've changed the games I run to be those like Savage Worlds or 13th Age where things happen fast, and improvisation is always easy.
 
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Joey2k

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I lived for rpgs for about 20 years. In the last 5 years my interest has almost completely shifted to board games. Now that is pretty much my sole hobby (other than reading).

I can't pinpoint exactly when the switch happened or what caused it. Only thing I can come up with is a good friend lived several towns over and one of us would go visit the other every month or so. We were both into games of all kinds, and in looking for an activity to do together on our visits, it's easier to play a board game with 2 people than an rpg.
 

opaopajr

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I am the exact opposite. I have played too many of those narrative cooperative boardgames (sets up too long, often hackneyed intra-party saboteur mechanics, etc.), legacy boardgames (can't stand the premise; never seen it work well), Euro boardgames (we all crabs in a bucket gears within gears for 2nd place until one lunges at the end), and god forbid Legacy Eurogames... Also lots of poorly designed popcorn cardgames (e.g. Munchkin), and unplaytested, baroque game layers Kickstarter clusterf****, have totally killed my patience with new boardgames. Too much chaff to sift through.

RPGs are not much better as I need a new system like I need a new hole in my head. But at least new settings, and micro settings in adventures, help increase cannibalizable utility. The big issue is building up players up to speed and emotional maturity for both boardgames and RPGs; that to me is the hardest process (and something I don't even try for CCGs, that is baptism by fire both in competitive play and social decorum).

I actively try to avoid getting sucked into trying new boardgames nowadays. The payoff ratio is abyssmal of late. That and there is genuinely solid boardgames that I need better competition to cultivate.
 

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Justin Alexander

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P.S: by the way, when did this roleplayish crop of boardgames appeared? One moment it's Catan and Monopoly etc and then BOOM some flavorful as fuck boardgames that clearly drinked from tabletop RPGs. I didn't see it hapenning.
I'd trace the current boom to Descent: Journeys in the Dark & Betrayal at Hill House (both 2004). There's clearly antecedents going all the way back to Dungeon in '75, Talisman in '83, and Warhammer Quest in '95, but these seemed to be ground zero for a whole generation of similar games.

OTOH, that's also basically when the board game renaissance started in general. So it may just be true that more of these are being produced because more games in general are being produced.
 
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Necrozius

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Zombicide Black Plague is the game that every one of my friend groups want me to bring out whenever we aren’t playing RPGs. Usually because someone dropped out, or we’re feeling lazy.

Funny thing about this co-op game: every single time, one or more players will get into an almost competitive mood and will try to hog all the best items and kills. Despite my warnings about such behaviour, it always happens and it causes us to lose in the end. No one wants to hand over that amazing ranged weapon to the archer character, or funnel the best spells to the spellcasters. The game actively punishes levelling up too quickly unevenly.

Even RPG players are guilty of this behaviour.

But the worst thing about co-op board games is being bossed around by the other players. Most turns, everyone is just doing what others tell them to do. So I’m creating a house rule: everyone shuts up during someone’s turn. They can ask one person for advice, but that’s it. Make it a bit more of a challenge?
 
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Bunch

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Zombicide Black Plague is the game that every one of my friend groups want me to bring out whenever we aren’t playing RPGs. Usually because someone dropped out, or we’re feeling lazy.

Funny thing about this co-op game: every single time, one or more players will get into an almost competitive mood and will try to hog all the best items and kills. Despite my warnings about such behaviour, it always happens and it causes us to lose in the end. No one wants to hand over that amazing ranged weapon to the archer character, or funnel the best spells to the spellcasters. The game actively punishes levelling up too quickly unevenly.

Even RPG players are guilty of this behaviour.

But the worst thing about co-op board games is being bossed around by the other players. Many turns everyone is just doing what others tell them. So I’m creating a house rule: everyone shuts up during someone’s turn. They can ask one person for advice, but that’s it. Make it a bit more of a challenge?
That's what I dislike about most coop games as well. Mysterium is the one game I know of that doesn't have that problem.
 

silva

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These narrative board games have been around for a while. There are arguably some around for decades but it was Mansions of Madness 1e that was the first that I really felt competed in the RPG space and that was released almost 10 years ago. Before that, there was Betrayal at the House on the Hill, which was pretty close too.

My current favourite is TIME Stories which I find makes a greater filler RPG session.

I enjoy them a lot but over time I have come to realise that they won’t ever be able to scratch the itch that RPGs do as they lack the essential element of freedom that RPGs have which makes them unique. At best, they are a good alternative much like a computer game or solo adventure book like Lone Wolf.

You may want to have a look at your RPGing practices too to see what they lack that the board games are doing. I found PbtA RPGs add much of the elements that make board games appeal to my RPG sessions, and I know you are a fan of them as well.
Yes, my esteem for PbtA is probably a symptom of this internal urge for greater action-to-waiting signal ratio. Also, see Shinobigami.

About my gaming practices, I think it's hard to pull out the kind of aggressive scene-framing/zero bumming around that would please me when the rest of the group is not on this. I mean, most people I play with come from D&D or Vampire or Gurps backgrounds where bumming around is expected of role-playing games. They want this kind of freedom even when it's innocuous.

...which leads me to the point of freedom, that I see a lot of players here pointing as something important that full-fledged RPGs have over media like board and videogames. See, I think that in 80% of the cases, this freedom that RPGs allow over the other media, is of the innocuous kind. All electronic RPGs I've seen, from Fallout 1 to Witcher 3 to everything between, give the exact same logical routes and conclusions to quest solving as tabletop RPG games. The details on how you pull those out will vary, because RPGs allow much more wiggle room, but the what of the solutions are almost always the same.

I would propose a challenge: take the Witcher 3 videogame and choose a quest. Then try to come up with solutions for said test, as if you were on a tabletop rpg environment. Then go back and see how the videogame did it. I think in 80% or more of the cases, you'll come up with the same solutions the videogame already have. I think this also extends to boardgames, only in this case you have even less wiggle room.

Don't know if I'm making myself clear here. Perhaps this topic of freedom, of the RPG media vs others deserved it's own thread?
 
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Caesar Slaad

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Legendary is interesting, or frustrating, from this angle.

The players have to work together for evil not to win. But then, there is an ultimate winner.

So it's usually smart to be cooperative, but there is some point to cutting off someone else's deck if you think you are safe to win.

Of course, there has been a time the game has gotten me super salty when someone did this. And these aren't roleplayers I play this with. This is competitive boardgamers.

Which I guess is why I'm still in the "boardgames are nice, but they still aren't RPGs" camp.
 

Necrozius

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Yeah the fact that people can be nasty even in fully co-op board games means that I will always find a place for RPGs.
 

Atelerix

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Another issue with co-op boardgames is analysis paralysis. I sold Imperial Assault, as at heart it's a race to complete a goal in a fixed time limit, like many dungeon crawlers. There were times the team would spend an hour working out the EXACT order of actions and tiles entered in a single turn.

That's a puzzle game, not Star Wars.
 

silva

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Another issue with co-op boardgames is analysis paralysis. I sold Imperial Assault, as at heart it's a race to complete a goal in a fixed time limit, like many dungeon crawlers. There were times the team would spend an hour working out the EXACT order of actions and tiles entered in a single turn.

That's a puzzle game, not Star Wars.
Differences in degree aside, how is this different to heist/mission based RPGs like Shadowrun? There're even entire attempts at analysis paralysis remedies (kindof) in RPGs, like what Blades in the Dark and Leverage do.

Yeah the fact that people can be nasty even in fully co-op board games means that I will always find a place for RPGs.
I can't see how this is a problem of the medium. PvP is a thing in tabletop RPGs too. I've seen a real fight in a RPG session once. My brother and a colleague dropped their char sheets like hockey players drop their gloves and went at it.
 
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Atelerix

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I think there's a gap in between expectation and execution. In a heist game, the enjoyment comes from planning, often complex, looking for weaknesses, leaning on NPCs and then making the plan work.

There's a difference between that - a really involved RPG session - and pixelbitching. Tile counting and arguing isn't for me, and it's not my idea of Star Wars.
 

silva

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I think there's a gap in between expectation and execution. In a heist game, the enjoyment comes from planning, often complex, looking for weaknesses, leaning on NPCs and then making the plan work.

There's a difference between that - a really involved RPG session - and pixelbitching. Tile counting and arguing isn't for me, and it's not my idea of Star Wars.
Woah but I've played boardgames and videogames where planning is joyful as you saying. Like in Netrunner where as a hacker you need to probe the server defenses and consider your rig, contacts and assets to know where to attack. Or the opposite as the Corp you must analyse the hacker strengths and weaknesses to devise your winning strategy.

I think, again, that one will find good and bad gameplay in all media. Or more precisely, different degrees of scope and premise in all media. And then it's simply a matter of finding the ones that match your preferences. I can't see how analysis paralysis is intrinsic somehow only to boardgames.
 

Skywalker

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Don't know if I'm making myself clear here. Perhaps this topic of freedom, of the RPG media vs others deserved it's own thread?
Sorry, you jumped from board games to computer games, and that case the comparisons differ. I would choose an RPG over Witcher 3 also for the social aspects that RPGinv provides. I also like the storytelling aspect of the GM which Witcher 3 completely lacks. This is both from a GM and player perspective, which is one of the main reasons I still prefer Mansions of Madness 1e over 2e.
 

EmperorNorton

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I like both a lot but they are different things for different times (though I think RPGs could learn some things from board games mechanically. I generally think board games tend to have much better actual mechanics. There is of course the added difficulty of needing to be less abstracted and more open ended, but a lot of RPGs just have very unsatisfying mechanics).

But mostly I play them for different reasons, even if I do like some games that are "RPG adjacent" like Gloomhaven. Because I don't try to look for an RPG in it, and I think if people do try to look for an RPG in it, they are going to be disappointed. It's just a fun board game with RPG trappings, progression, and a story. It isn't "an RPG in a box" or anything like that.

Also: If a game is taking 45 minutes to explain and needs test turns and stuff, the person teaching it is just really bad at teaching games. (Also, also, if I'm playing a game with people who haven't played it before, I'll generally go for more obscure/less optimal strategies in that game. It lets me play as hard as I want to, but within more difficult parameters, without trouncing newbies. People who just destroy people the first time they play a game are kind of obnoxious).
 
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Necrozius

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I can't see how this is a problem of the medium. PvP is a thing in tabletop RPGs too. I've seen a real fight in a RPG session once. My brother and a colleague dropped their char sheets like hockey players drop their gloves and went at it.
I admit that you’re totally correct. I’ve witnessed, hell, experienced first hand, the awfulness that PvP can bring.

I stand corrected.
 

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I remember a lot of RPG-ish fantasy boardgames from SPI and Avalon Hill; Deathmaze/Citadel of Blood and Magic Realm, for example.

I guess it could work like this:

RPGs eventually wear on you because they're too arbitrary or too slow and they don't consistently present the level of challenge you want and nobody wants to be the GM. So you jump to boardgames.

And then you tire of boardgames because there are so many rules for such a narrow range of situations and learning the rules gives away too much of what to expect when playing and it takes too long to get set up. So you jump to computer games.

And then you give up on computer games because they're not open-ended enough to be satisfying and you need to understand the even more complicated and detailed rules to make good decisions and even the multiplayer games aren't socially engaging enough. So you jump to RPGs.

And then it turns out that at a high level you've just been playing rock-paper-scissors. :sad:
 

Skywalker

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I admit that you’re totally correct. I’ve witnessed, hell, experienced first hand, the awfulness that PvP can bring.

I stand corrected.
It can happen, but RPGs are different in that they have no victory condition where board games do. As such, any PvP action is due to story reasons and not to play to win. In fact, RPGs are perhaps the only type of game that has no victory conditions.
 

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I like the Fantasy Flight Cthulhu Mythos games well enough, but, oh the many cards (setup takes a bit). Betrayal at House on the Hill is fun, and not much setup. I tend to run app versions of games solo, just to avoid messing with game pieces (which is not exactly in the spirit of coop, I'll grant).
 

silva

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I like the Fantasy Flight Cthulhu Mythos games well enough, but, oh the many cards (setup takes a bit). Betrayal at House on the Hill is fun, and not much setup. I tend to run app versions of games solo, just to avoid messing with game pieces (which is not exactly in the spirit of coop, I'll grant).
I'm only now joining the cult ( :hehe: ) after playing Mansions of Madness 2 at a friends house and loving it. I already ordered Arkham Horror 3e. In fact, these games were the main responsible for my conclusion and this thread.

What is your favorite one?

Edit: btw, have you seen this?

 

Skywalker

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There are exceptions...
I don’t recall win conditions in Paranoia.

The only examples I can think of Burning Empires and Rune, and they both suck as RPGs as a result as they need so much extra rules to remove freedom so that they can be competitive.
 

Magister

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It can happen, but RPGs are different in that they have no victory condition where board games do. As such, any PvP action is due to story reasons and not to play to win. In fact, RPGs are perhaps the only type of game that has no victory conditions.
"Not losing' is the usual victory condition; succeeding in the short term is, if not a victory condition, a win, however transitory its effect. Making other players lose (and then taking their stuff, giving an advantage against not losing) and gaining the satisfaction of succeeding in that conflict are "play to win" reasons for PvP.
 

Skywalker

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Shinobigami is an interesting example which I pledged but have yet to play, so will reserve comment. I expect a lot of RPGers will bounce off of it exactly due to the setup.

Despite that a handful of outliers doesn’t mean the general statement isnt accurate. Likewise, most board games have win conditions, though there may be a few outliers that don’t.
 

cranebump

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I'm only now joining the cult ( :hehe: ) after playing Mansions of Madness 2 at a friends house and loving it. I already ordered Arkham Horror 3e. In fact, these games were the main responsible for my conclusion and this thread.

What is your favorite one?

Edit: btw, have you seen this?

Eldritch Horror is a lot of fun. Elder Sign is a dice version, which is fun, but can be pretty tough. It's because of these things that I starting GMing an occult horror TT campaign, using FATE.

Haven't seen the Vampire game. I'll have to check it out.

"Last Night on Earth" is fun, as well.
 
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