This one is a bit out there in some ways. I would say that there has been attempts at unique powers for a while and some solid successes, but there was a time where the difference between who you were and who I was in […]
Tag: Settlers of Catan
Maybe instead of gifting for a gamer, you are gifting to someone who is just getting into the board game industry. They’ve played a few of your games and are looking to start getting a few games of their own. What games should you look at for someone like that?
Ticket to Ride
This should be the first game on basically any intro to modern board gaming list. It’s a smart simple game where you are trying to collect sets of train cards of various colors and connect routes across the board. That’s what the game is, but there is some strategy to it as to when you complete a section of your route, when you take train cards, and when you might want to get more routes. Not all that complex, but enough so to keep more serious gamers engaged well enough and so that people can pick it up quickly. There are also a ton of different versions of the game. The United States map, just called Ticket to Ride, is the most straight forward, but anything that’s added in the other boxes can just be skipped and you can play it as the normal Ticket to Ride.
This tableau building game as you competing for the favor of nobles and building up your supply of jewels. The game is simple as you start out building out your tableau by taking one time use jewels but soon you’ll have built up a good jewel collection so you have permanent jewels. The game is another pretty straight forward game with a limited number of actions in the game. That makes it a lot easier to teach. Now, this game is pretty themeless actually, but the components and artwork are nice, so it gets to the table pretty easily that way.
Sushi Go! Party
Card drafting games aren’t always the easiest to teach, but with the very cute artwork of Sushi Go! Party, it’s definitely an exception. I will add in one caveat for this game, there are a few of the specials that I would avoid at the start because they are a bit more confusing, but the game itself is pretty simple. You take one card from your hand and pass the hand to the next person and repeat the process until you’ve done that with all the cards. The game plays fast and while the first couple of decisions might be a bit trickier or explaining the rules the first time might be a bit trickier, the game is easy to play multiple times in one sitting.
Or as it used to be known, Settlers of Catan. This game is one of the games that started the modern board gaming trend. While it still has some of the classic board gaming issues, mainly there isn’t a way to mitigate just rolling poorly, it’s going to be one that a lot of people are familiar with. The game is pretty straight forward but it’s still enjoyable and it’s something that people will recognize as compared to a game like Splendor that people might not have heard of.
This is probably the trickiest game on the list because there’s more strategy in this game than some of the others, but because of the presence on the table. In this game you are drafting dice to create a stained glass window, and you just have to follow certain die placement rules about colors and numbers being next to each other and while filling in certain colors or numbers based on the window that you are creating. The game play is fast and there is an expansion that allows it to play up to 6 which might make it easier to get to the table and keep everyone involved at a family holiday party.
I’ve managed to get Pandemic Legacy on to two other lists (too big for a stocking), but for this one, I suggest the base Pandemic. This is a really good cooperative game and a game that lays out what is done on turns and peoples actions really nicely. It’s also not that tough a cooperative game so for a new player, they aren’t going to feel like they’re being beat down over and over again. It’s also not that long a game for everything that is going on in the game. If you haven’t played it yourself, I’d recommend it for someone who is even a gamer or the Legacy version as it’s a really good game.
There are a ton of introductory games, and I might give out some suggestions next week for what to give people if they like a certain classic game already, but that will be later.
What are some other games that you’ve used to introduce people to modern board gaming?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!
So coming out quickly now I wanted to continue with coming up with ideas for board games that would be fairly cool with a legacy version, or could get a legacy version, because it would be printing money.
Catan (or Settlers of Catan)
Why it would work: Because the game is still popular, so it would be printing money. Whomever makes it would just be able to Scrooge McDuck through gold coins. But besides that, why else might it work. Because you can build out and explore more world. You’d be able to sail to new lands, find new things, and add to the game and the board by unlocking things. This would probably be a less story driven game, but as long as it generally stays true to the base game, people will like it. Or it could be story heavy, maybe you go with a medieval time frame, where you are building up your city state and every game kind of wipes out your city state, and you have to rebuild again.
What I’d Change: I wouldn’t change much from this game. The game is simple enough that while you might add in some things, I don’t think that there is much to change. I would maybe go with the variant that I’ve played with Catan where you start with the pieces upside down (assuming you don’t need a consistent board), so there can be a exploratory aspect to it, or at least as you add in pieces and the board grows I’d do that. I’d also probably start with a fixed board, so instead of building out the hexes, the hexes are always going to be there in the same order.
What I’d Keep: I’d really keep most of the game. I think that the resource aspect is very luck heavy, but people who still play the game often probably like that aspect well enough or at least numb to it. I’d also keep the base things like the roads, settlements, and cities, and I’d add in the Seafarers stuff as well, including gold, that would just help keep the game feeling diverse. I’d maybe steal some from the other expansions, but I haven’t played that many of them, so I can’t speak that much to them, but you’d probably want to bring in bits of them, maybe allowing you to build upgrades for your main city.
What I’d Add: Well, like I said, I think the main board should be fixed, and then you’d have random islands that you would put out as you find them and that would make your game unique. I think that I’d also give player powers, that is something that almost always makes a game feel more unique. Having a power, like maybe you are a wood baron or a sheep baron, you get to start off the game with one of that resource no matter where you put your last settlement. Or maybe it’s going to be that as a sheep baron you can always trade in sheep at a 3 to 1 rate. Something that makes you unique as a player and probably some way that you can update your character. Maybe if you win you get to put an upgrade on your unique character, so you are a sheep baron, your base ability is that you can always trade 3 to 1, but now you can put something on your card that allows you to start the game with a sheep, but with the downside that you get to go last when placing your settlements, or something to try and balance out that added power. Or maybe you get to upgrade a die number of on something and downgrade another one to keep it balanced.
Would I Play This Game: With how I have it thus far, I’m not sure, I would likely want more built into this game to keep it interesting. If people wanted to play it, I wouldn’t complain, but there would have to be pieces that seemed really cool. So the answer would probably be yes, but I wouldn’t be getting it day one.
Here’s one I would be more excited about –
Arkham Horror/Eldritch Horror
Why it would work: This game already has a bit of a story element in it. So that is a big plus, and it has a story/world with a way to build on it. You start with the lesser elder gods and you build it up until eventually you are a facing off against the big bad cthulhu. Plus, you already have unique characters, so it feels like you are playing some in this cooperative game. Also, it’s a cooperative game, I think that it makes it easier.
What I’d Change: Another game that wouldn’t need a ton changed. I’d probably make the game a little easier. At least for the start, obviously, you are going to be upgrading your characters as time goes on, or at least upgrading things that they can find, so they’ll get stronger and stronger. Then probably you’d have to make the end elder gods even harder. I’d also make it so that like Pandemic Legacy there are just some ways to basically lose a location forever, or make it harder to get to if there is too much supernatural activity there. I’d also possibly make the board have more locations, so from some of the expansions, but then just condense the board so that things are a bit smaller on it so it wouldn’t take up two tables.
What I’d Keep: I’d definitely keep the custom characters, and obviously the elder gods in the scenario would be easy to keep as well. Just build up a story about why this is all happening, and I think that it would be pretty easy to just jump in and get going.
What I’d Add: So upgrades and flaws for the characters, or insanity effects/wounds. You’re character shouldn’t be killed off the first time they die from damage or insanity, just inflict something negative on them. So, if you’re insane, maybe you’re only allowed to have an even number of items, or maybe you can’t go into a place with another character, so you have to go around them. If you’re injured, maybe you break a leg and you can’t move as quickly. However, with upgrades, you might get a new power or something like that, or you could slowly upgrade your wound threshold or sanity threshold so it’s harder to go insane. I’d also add in story elements, maybe things that are opened up in game as you find things or complete milestones of sorts, but definitely stories about how cultists are trying to get bigger and badder elder gods as you keep on stopping them. And I’d go with the Pandemic Legacy version of you have twice to beat an elder god, so that the game lasts longer and also so that while if you fail your board will be worse off, but you’ll be able to play more times.
Would I Play This Game: Yes, I would in a heartbeat. I like the Lovecraftian world, and feel like there are strong story elements ready to be built in. This game would have a lot of fun aspects to it, and maybe there should be ways to shorten up the game slightly, especially if built on Arkham Horror versus Eldritch Horror which is a long game. Make it so we can get it done in five hours consistently and that would work.