Alright, I said I was going start another top 5 list, these are games that can either only be played with two players or are best with two players. There are some games that might have 2-4 players, but are really two player games, because […]
Tag: Arkham Horror LCG
One of the last two board game top 5’s I’m going to do. Cooperative games are a ton of fun, sure you might like to beat up on another person in a game, but what works well with cooperative games is the game is going to provide an appropriate challenge. There are games where if you’ve played more than I have, it will almost be impossible for me to to win because of the experience difference. In cooperative game, you tend to have games that level up in difficulty as you play them more, if they are campaign driven, or that you can make harder if you choose.
So what are my top 5 cooperative games?
5. Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game
It’s in the title that it’s a cooperative game. This is a very challenging game, but a simple game to play. You are having to balance card use for gaining action points (fate points), investigating, and fighting, and you’re probably not going to have enough time to do everything you want to do. For me, that is a hallmark of a good cooperative game, there are always going to be a handful of good things to do and you are never going to be able to do them all. The game also has some Dresden Files feel to it as you feel like you are up against it throughout the whole game and most likely you are just going to eek out a win. It has some interesting mechanics with how it deals with what cases and targets you can deal with depending on where they are on the board. It’s a fun game to play the specific characters in the books with the different scenarios based off of the books, so you feel like you are in fact playing through the book.
4. Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition
An app driven game in the 2nd Edition, Mansions of Madness allows it to be a combat game, a puzzle game, and an exploration game all at once without one person really needing to play the game itself. This can make the book keeping phase of the game, or mythos phase as it’s called in Lovecraftian games most of the time, a whole lot faster. Also, because it’s app driven a scenario is going to be slightly different if you play it multiple times because the app can set-up the house or location where you are investigating differently. You have a lot of the standard investigator pieces to it that you get in Arkham Horror or Elder Signs, but it provides it in a tighter package.
3. Arkham Horror LCG
I really enjoy this game as one that scales well in difficulty. Based off of the modifiers that are placed into a bag that are then drawn throughout the game. What I like is that this is a fairly heavy story game while being a smaller card game. If you get everything for the game, there are a ton of cards, but no matter what you have, it’s always a card game. It gives you feel of exploring through Arkham to complete cases. Another thing that works well in this game, is because the locations the locations are cards, you can scale the story up to as large an area as you want or as small an area. That’s something that Mansions of Madness can’t do.
2. Pandemic Legacy
This game really works well as a cooperative game. Whereas some on the list have hidden information because that helps with the alpha player problem, Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy is a straight forward enough game that people can get up to speed quickly and start making decisions. The game also has a good story to it though not as in depth as some of them. The ability to also get the game to the table quickly is a bit different than some of the other games.
My favorite game, what I like about this game is that you can really tailor who you are playing in the game. You get some interesting teams, but it gives you a ton of choices as a player. This is the game that I was thinking about when I was talking about scaling, or one of them. I’ve talked about the game a ton, so I am not going to add in all that much more on this one. But the scaling is amazing in this game, and the ability to tailor your character to your style is great. It’s also a massive game that gives you tons of game play.
There are a ton of games I could put down as an honorable mention, but I’ll try and keep it just to five:
T.I.M.E. Stories – Super fun puzzly game where you jump to different timelines and dimensions to stop things from destroying the timeline.
Hanabi and Forbidden Desert – Check out the previous Top 5 list for more on those games .
Xenoshyft: Onslaught – A cooperative deckbuilder with some interesting choices, in particular being able to build your deck but also being able to help other peoples decks as well.
Lost Expedition – A simple game, but challenging as you decide as a group how to deal with problems as you try and advance to the lost city of Z
There are so many more that I could have listed and that I’ve enjoyed playing. I really enjoy cooperative games as they seem easier to get to the table when you’re all working together towards a goal. Not to say I don’t enjoy a good competitive game, but cooperative games tend to feel like they are more unique even though they are common now.
What are your favorite cooperative game, do you, like me, have a big stack of cooperative games you have yet to play?
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Between campaign building, I want to go back to some of the board game lists. And this is probably my favorite mechanic for a game, where people can do things just a bit differently than other players. 5. SmallworldThe lightest game on the list by far, […]
I’ve talked a lot about theme in board game before and how I like board games with a good theme on them. Instead of talking so much about why I like themes in board games, I think I’ve covered that decently well, I’m going to talk about some of my favorite themes in board games and why I like them.
Now, that could be less exciting, because there are a lot of generic themes out there, and a lot of games that are using themes over and over again. Especially now with copyrights not being extended to kingdom come, there are more works that are now public domain. A few years ago Sherlock Holmes became public domain and HP Lovecrafts work some time before that.
So what are some of my favorite themes on board games?
Epic Fantasy –
Super generic, but I really do enjoy a good fantasy game. Especially since a lot of them have a better developed story than most. Now it helps that I’m a big fantasy fan, so I can quickly understand what is going on with the various fantasy tropes and it allows me to get quickly into the story being told. Games like Gloomhaven and Legends of Andor do a good job of baking story into the actual game play themselves. I think what I like about the fantasy theme on board games is that it gives me a bit of that feeling of playing an RPG in a lot of the games and I can make my decisions like I am that hero. In a lot of ways it scratches my itch to play an RPG when I can’t be in a game as a player or as the GM.
I did a big board game battle post about all of the Fantasy Flight games that I’ve played with the HP Lovecraft world theme on them. I’m a bit surprised with how main stream Lovecraft is in board games, but it works in most of the cases. I will say that it gets slapped onto a lot of games that don’t need it. Like in Unspeakable Words, you’re just doing a pretty standard word game, but it has the Lovecraftian theme and cute Lovecraftian artwork on it. Now, that’s fine because it takes a game that wouldn’t have artistic direction and gives it some, but it’s kind of silly. Then there are games like Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, and Arkham Horror LCG that are just steeped in theme. Those games seek to make you feel like an investigator of some background who is really going through this world, dealing with the monsters, progressing the story, looking for clues, and sometimes dealing with the events of the normal world. It also does a good job of setting an aesthetic that is generally pleasing to play in but also being a horror focused game. It really doesn’t rely on blood and guts like some horror games would.
Another super generic option, like epic fantasy, but I figured I should say more than just Star Wars. While the Star Wars games are great that I’ve played, Imperial Assault and Star Wars: Rebellion, there are other sci-fi games out there that I’ve liked as well. It’s interesting because you have a wide variety of scope with games in the Sci-Fi genre. Games like Star Wars: Rebellion, Battlestar Galactica, and Cosmic Encounters are planet level Sci-Fi games. And while Cosmic Encounters doesn’t feel like quire as grand a scope as Rebellion, it’s still a bigger game in some ways. Compare that to Imperial Assault and Clank! In! Space!, those games have a focus that is much more on a smaller part of the world. You’re on a planet or in a space ship dealing with things, but you aren’t as worried about the whole cosmos. Having that variety is what makes Sci-Fi such a strong genre to me.
Now, there are so many more genres out there, but you’re not going to have that much issue finding games in these genres, and I tend to gravitate towards them. There is one that I want to see more of though.
Weird West –
I really enjoy the weird west setting. Some might say that it’s a bit Lovecraft mixed with the wild west, and that’s probably pretty accurate. But when people say a Lovecraft game, that’s generally meaning 1920’s and Arkham area. Weird west can be a lot more than just that, and I like Shadows of Brimstone for that, though I’ve only gotten it to the table once. I need to go back and fix the monsters and hopefully stream that game at some point in time so I can actually play it some more. But the game is interesting and has some cool big moments to it.
Now, some might say this is part of fantasy, but I think I would qualify it differently than “Epic Fantasy”. Theming of games like Lords of Hellas, which I haven’t played or Santorini which is really an abstract game, but has the Greek mythology added to it, that’s a theme that I can get behind. What makes it generally pretty thematic is that all the deities have their own powers which really do track with the mythology that you’re in. Even if you aren’t going the standard Greek, there are now a lot of games with Norse Mythology. Blood Rage on the cards you draft does a really good job of creating that mythological feel for each deity that you can draft cards from. In fact, those cards are where you really get the theme of Norse Mythology in Blood Rage.
I could go on talking about more themes in board games. There are games with a heavily influenced theme by Japan and/or Anime. There are games t hat have cool adventuring themes that give you the Indiana Jones feel. There are a few themes that I’ll generally avoid though. If a game has the “trading in the Mediterranean” theme, that’s a hard pass for me. I’m also kind of done with the zombie theme at this point. I do like Dead of Winter, so I’m not opposed to it, but a zombie themed game isn’t all that interesting to me most of the time.
What are some themes you like in board games. What are themes that you want to see more of in board games?
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A lot of the games that I’ve gone with have been for gamers who might be into board gaming more casually. The games aren’t always simple but they aren’t the heavier games that require that extra time to set-up and tear down. If you want to see the list on the other end of the spectrum, check back to the Holiday Gift Guide: Intro Games article from a few days ago.
The poster child for the big box game, Gloomhaven has all the components and tons of hours of game play. The game mechanics are smart as the card play is clever and adds a lot of strategy to the game. It is a beast to take down and set-up, but if you can afford the game, for someone who is looking for that combination of a big game with a lot of strategy and story, Gloomhaven is amazing.
Near and Far
Another one that’s been mentioned before, this is a story driven campaign game, but they do a really good job of keeping part of it was a game and part of it as the story aspect. There are definitely a lot of decisions to be made as you go out and explore and as you spend time in the town trying to build up your party to explore. You can even technically win the game without doing any of the story part.
Mansions of Madness
This game again has a lot of story, but there is an epicness to the game as you explore through houses and other locations as you try and unravel the mysteries and madness of this Lovecraftian game. As compared to some of the other Lovecraft games, it tells a tight story and the app integration into the game works really well and makes the book keeping aspect of the game a whole lot easier. You get to feel like you’re investigating these mysteries.
Arkham Horror LCG
Another Lovecraft game on the list, this game is a whole lot smaller and faster than the rest of the games. In fact it’s just a card game. However, this card game still feels big because you are going through a cool story and the decisions you make and the level of difficulty you play the game at, makes the game tough. This is the epic Lovecraft game for when you don’t have as much time.
Shadows of Brimstone
This one you could argue borrows or Lovecraft adjacent, but really it’s trying to be its own thing as it’s a big box game with a lot of rules and you are trying to complete missions, role play your characters, and save the town of Brimstone from the dimension that is opening up around it. What I like about this game is that it is Weird West, which isn’t a theme that I’ve seen used that much before in board games or any media and I want to see more of. The game does, however, have a beast of a rule book, though the rule book is laid out pretty well.
Probably the easiest of all of the games on the list to set-up and get into. The rules for this game are probably the simplest of any of the games, but the story of this game gives it an epic feel. Now, it’s probably the game thus far on the list that you can get the fewest number of hours game play and only Arkham Horror LCG plays in as short a time, though with Arkham Horror LCG, there are more scenarios to play through. However, this game is epic, both seasons of it, and they are both definitely worth playing, especially as their prices are a bit lower now.
This asymmetric game is definitely an epic struggle between the factions with a lot of interesting decisions to be made by the players as you try and be the first to the victory point total. The fact that each factions in the game plays differently means that it’ll give the players a lot of different experiences as you play in different roles through multiple playthroughs of the game. And it’s pretty easy to teach all things considered because the basic actions for each faction end in the same result.
Star Wars: Rebellion
This game has been described as, by the Dice Tower, “Star Wars in a box”. I think that’s a very apt description. While Imperial Assault might be boots on the ground, Star Wars: Rebellion is the epic galactic struggle between the Rebels and the Empire. You get to try and complete missions, build troops up, defeat the enemy and if you’re the Empire, track down where the rebel base is hidden. The game play is fairly long, but the decisions and turn structure means that there isn’t much downtime. This game is only really a two player game though.
Now, there are ton more epic games out there. I have yet to play Twilight Imperium 4th Edition (or 3rd Edition) and those are some of the most epic space games. I also have games like The Reckoners and Scythe that I’ve picked up recently but haven’t gotten to the table yet. What are some other epic feeling games that I’ve missed?
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