Fun board game thought I had yesterday, surrounding board game nights. Last board game night, the theme was new to you games or new to the group games. We got to play Just One, One Night Ultimate Vampire, and Lord of the Rings Dice Game, […]
So I normally do a lot of top fives at the end of the year in bigger categories, but I wanted to break it down for a few specific categories within board games so you can see what I really enjoy in the various genres and I’ll give my reasons why:
5. Magic the Gathering
Normally I don’t have games on a deck building list like this. MtG, though, is a deck building game, you just aren’t doing it actively in the game. But I would argue that a lot of the fun of Magic, though I really do like the game, is trying to build out that crazy deck that just might work. I think that part of the game can become too much when people start to take the game too seriously and go all in on the pay to win model. But putting together a deck that just might work, that’s a lot of fun. Then you get to test it out, go back to the drawing board, and try again. I really liked to create decks that would build towards a big finish if I could stay alive long enough. Best way to describe it is building the ticking time bomb deck that you know will blow up, but you don’t know when.
4. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
A deck builder that has a good amount of theme. It feels, as you’re early in the game, that you’re playing through the books. The only odd thing is that you continue to add villains each game, so the further in you are, the more it feels like you’re playing through the series as compared to playing through a book. I wish that was different, but the cards themselves, and the characters as you open up more books and unlock more of the rules, feel like you’re playing as the different characters from the books and each has a different thing they are a bit better at, such as Hermoine with spells.
3. Clank! In! Space!
I really enjoy this game for the goofiness of the deck building. The cards are all references to various Sci-Fi shows, books, and movies. I also like it because it’s not something that is just a deck builder. You are building your deck, but you’re building it so that you can move around the space ship and gather the best treasure that you can. So the people you recruit and the cards you buy actually matter in the game for more than just something like victory points. The turns are also extremely fast in the game, which is great, because the game can take a little while to set-up with the modular board and all the different tokens and cards.
2. Xenoshyft: Onslaught
What you’ll notice about most of the games on the list is that they add a lot of plot to the game. Xenoshyft: Onslaught continues that as you are space marines fighting off waves and waves of bug monsters. What I like about this game is that you are using your cards and money to set-up your defenses for the next wave of bugs. So it has the theme of what you are doing, recruiting more troops and upgrading their equipment. I also like that you can help out your fellow players because if they are facing troubles in their lane of defense, you can help them prior to the wave of bugs or sometimes during the wave of bugs, so you can actually help build up someone else’s deck if you have your own engine working well already. It’s a very tough game, but I really like that about it, because you’re always feeling the pressure of getting the right pull.
1. Arkham Horror LCG
This game is amazing and I haven’t even played it a ton. It’s not your standard deck builder as you aren’t purchasing cards as you go, but between games you are gaining XP and upgrading cards or putting in new cards. Sometimes the scenarios even give you new cards you can add to your deck. This deck builder is closer to Magic the Gathering in the style you are building the deck because you build it prior to the game. But it is great because you have to build it in such a way to have some weaknesses that specific to your character(s) in the game, so each deck feels unique.
Now, just a few honorable mentions:
Century: Golem Edition & Not Alone, both great games, but they are really a hand builder versus a deck builder. The mechanics are pretty similar to deck building though, so can be HM’s
Marvel Legendary, I’m not the biggest fan of the game, some because there’s so much bloat that you end up just not getting the right combination of cards because you put together too odd a group of heroes. It can just be too swingy at times, but superheroes are awesome.
Aeon’s End/Aeon’s End: War Eternal/Aeon’s End Legacy, I’m going to be playing this soon, I’ve watched a playthrough of this game, it has enough extra going on with the monster you’re fighting and the spell slots, basically, that you can open up. It seems very interesting, and a deck builder that you don’t shuffle is very cool as you can theoretically stack the deck in your favor.
What’s missing from the list because I haven’t played enough or just didn’t like it that well:
Clearly there is no Dominion on the list. While Dominion is the grand daddy of them all, or at least the first super popular one, Dominion is a pretty boring game where the cards are themeless and could be anything. It’s a pure deck builder, but that’s about it.
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is also missing from the list, it’s a pretty cool epic game, however, it’s supposed to be RPG like, and leveling up is just too slow. The game just needs to move a little bit faster. The same thing is the case with Shadowrun: Crossfire. I love the setting, and the game is cool, but the original printing was also just too slow to build to the cool things. I think that Harry Potter is the game that could be like this, bu t you feel cooler much faster.
What are your favorite deck builders? Which games would you recommend to people?
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I mentioned the topic in the Kickstarter FOMO post, but I wanted to talk more about different game mechanics that you might here people talk about when it comes to describing a board game, this will be a bit more focused definitions than the Jargon […]
With the talks of a Mice and Mystics board game in the news the past few days I decided to look at what board games should get movies based off of them, and now I’m going to go with ones that really shouldn’t have a movie.
If you want to read the ones I think could make good movies, you can find the article here.
So ground rule with this article, the game must have some human component or artwork. It can’t be something like Skip-Bo. That wouldn’t make any sense to do a movie about, though I’m sure someone would try.
The first is a three-fer: Catan, Splendor, and Dominion. The issue with all of these, while they might be fun games, they are generic. Dominion is as generic medieval as possible, and really is just a them that’s been pasted on. You can make your standard medieval movie, and call it Dominion if you want, but it wouldn’t be thematic to the game. The same is true with Catan and Splendor. At least with Splendor you’d make it about jewels, but it wouldn’t be thematically tied to the game. The issue with all of these games and movies is that they are generic and could really be about anything, so you’d be able to call a movie Catan, Dominion, or Splendor, but you wouldn’t have to do anything that would tie it to the game to make the movie.
Next would be Cosmic Encounter, and this one I kind of wanted to work, but I don’t it would make a good movie. First off, there are too many alien races in Cosmic Encounter, to really capture the feel you’d have to make it a menagerie of races, and the movie would feel bloated. Plus a game that is about the social interactions and a goofiness to the game, but you’re also controlling planets and taking over planets, that would be a disconnect for a movie.
Gloomhaven was a game that I actually had someone suggest would work well as a movie, and I’m up in the air, I think it could be done, but I also think that you’d lose out on part of what Gloomhaven is. One of the big parts of Gloomhaven is retiring your character, unlocking another character, and playing as them. The main story of Gloomhaven could work in a movie, but you’d lose some of the feel from it about the ever changing adventuring group, and the time that it implies is passing as you go out adventuring. Overall, I think it would work better as a TV show than a movie, but I’m not even so sold on wanting that. But giving it True Detective treatment with a new cast of characters every season, but that still keeps it on the list of ones I wouldn’t want a movie of.
Cry Havoc is a game that I got to play last weekend and have written an article/review of the game recently. The basis of the game is that you’re on a planet playing different races trying to collect and control the resources of the planet. There is one glaring issue with this idea for a movie, it’s been done before. Dances with Wolves and Avatar much? Because that’s what it would end up being again just with a couple more races thrown into the mix. We barely needed Avatar as a movie, besides the technological advancements it gave for film, we certainly don’t need it again.
Final one is the obvious one, because not that many people like the game anyways, but Monopoly. It feels like that’s something that a production company might decide to do as board games gather more main stream popularity, but that doesn’t mean Monopoly. What would the plot even be? You’d be going around buying up places and building your empire while trying to ruin others and getting second place in beauty pageants and winnings $10? Later in the game when you’re randomly staying at other peoples properties because you can’t stay at yours for no good reason you’ll be glad when you end up in jail so you don’t have to pay other people money? This would be a terrible movie, and I can see a production company trying to make some sort of funny movie based off of Monopoly, and I can see it being so horrible.
What other board games would make horrible movies? What movies might make horrible board games?
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Deck-building games are showing up a whole lot more on Kickstarter these days, and are becoming a more popular style of game. The best-known game of this type is Dominion, in which you build up a deck of cards to gain victory points. A lot of these […]
One topic that I wanted to spend more time on was talking about different types of games for different types of board game nights and board game groups. Depending on who you have coming, it is really going to make a difference in what type of games you are going to play.
For this sort of group, you are really looking for more party games. You want turns that can take a while so that conversations can happen, and you want games that are simple enough for people who might not be familiar with the game so they won’t forget the rules in between their turns. Party games are ideal for this. A couple of my top recommendations would be Cards Against Humanity (or Apples to Apples if you are feeling tamer) or Stipulations. Both of these have quick rounds where people either play cards or write something down, and whoever is “it” picks the winner out of the different ones. They are good because the rounds are fast, everyone is involved in the rounds at once, and if you get into a conversation between rounds, there is no confusion as to where you pick up again.
Let’s Work Together Groups
There are a couple of reasons for having this sort of group of game players. The first is that while this type of players like games with story and depth to them, everyone isn’t on the same level of game playing, so if that group was playing a trickier game, the same people are always going to lose. The other reason is that if someone in the group tends to lose poorly, it can ruin the experience for everyone else. So instead of not inviting certain people depending on what games you want to play, for either reason, you are able to play games that are more cooperative. The best examples of this, in my opinion, are the Lord of the Rings Board Game and Pandemic. Both of these offer a number of different strategies, so if someone wanted to play it one way, they can, and it allows for a lot of discussion and working together at the table. If you get tired of games where people purely work together, games like Betrayal at the House on the Hill and Dead of Winter are great options as well. While the team is working together, someone is randomly chosen to become a traitor — it’s a whole lot harder to have hard feelings when it is a random card or roll of the die that determines the traitor.
This group is able to handle games that pit players against each other, and that one player can work on their own to win instead of letting it be based on someone else’s decision (or even partially based on that). As a casual group, it still focuses on faster and simpler games, though. You wouldn’t sit down and play the Battlestar Galactica board game with this group, but instead, you’d play Carcassone or King of Tokyo. A lot of the Euro-style games fall into this category. While something that another player might do could stop you from doing what you wanted, everyone is actively trying to meet their own conditions to win the game, not (most likely) stop other people from winning.
I was thinking about putting this group and the next one into the same group, but I think, at times, there might be a reason to differentiate. Serious gamers are people who love very in-depth games. They want to spend the time to work through a long game of Marvel Legendary or Arkham Horror, and they don’t mind so much if the game is cooperative or competitive. If the game is challenging enough and different enough and really allows them to flex their game logic muscles, they are going to enjoy the game. These are the people who try and figure out the optimal strategy for Dominion, and probably own most of the expansions for it. They take their gaming seriously, and when they play, they expect the other people in the group to do that as well.
These people play Risk and are out for blood. They make and break alliances with no concerns about who they beat down in the process. They also aren’t going to have a qualm about knocking out a player early in a long game and just letting them sit there. A cutthroat group is going to want to play long and challenging games, and while they may have hurt feelings in the game, they are able to get past that once the game is over. A player for any group besides the Serious Gamers group isn’t going to be able to hang with a cutthroat group, and even the serious players are going to have more fun elsewhere. I do want to clarify: I’m not trying to say that this group is a bad group. If you play this way and have friends who do as well, more power to you. But often, it’s hard for cutthroat gamers to mix well into other groups and vice-a-versa, probably more so than any other combination.
Just to close up this topic: a lot of these groups work well together; people who are part of a talking group can easily play games that cooperative and casual groups like. And serious gamers can enjoy playing cooperative games and casual games as well. However, it is important to be aware of the dynamic of your group and know how they play. If you have people who are expecting to play serious and challenging games and all you have is party games, some people won’t be having as fun a time, for example. But if you know the type of group you have and what type of player you are, you can always have a fun board game night for everyone.
What type of player are you with board games?
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