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A Thread for Board Games
  • Our household has recently acquired a copy of Race for the Galaxy, and we’ve been playing it obsessively enough that it seemed to warrant starting a new thread for board games. Strictly speaking, it’s a card game rather than a board game, I guess, but I am not so strict. I think S. was interested in it because it basically sounded like “San Juan in Space”, which is a combo in that we have always really liked, but lately have gotten a bit bored with, San Juan; and he is into sci-fi settings anyway. The description is not too far off, but it’s given the basic mechanism a lot of interesting spins, and there is a wider variety of available strategies, and probably a bit less luck involved. Which might be why I usually lose.

    I’ve also just acquired a copy of Space Alert, because it seemed like a nice idea to have a second game (after Pandemic) in which the players play as a team rather than against each other, but I think I might regret this purchase. It looks stressful! It’s also a bit intimidating that they strongly recommend against playing your first couple of games in two-player mode, which of course is exactly what we were planning on doing. So now I’m unsure whether we should try to spring it on someone for a first spin, or just ignore the warnings and try it out with the two of us this weekend.

  • I made a new friend recently, we’ve been playing a lot of boardgames. I have Agricola, Settlers of Catan and Scrabble and he just picked up Carcassone and Ticket to Ride. Yesterday we played the latter two. I really liked Ticket to Ride!

    We haven’t played Settlers of Catan yet because we’re not sure about playing it with only two people - years ago I played the official rules with a competitive boardgame enthusiast ex boyfriend and it was not a fun time for me. There are some variations of the rules/set up online we might give a shot, like this one or this one. Not sure which version of the rules are best to go with, there are a lot of different variations.

    @alex New boardgames always seem a little stressful to me. I’ve been craving a game of 120’s (also known as Growl), a card game you play with partners. I’ve never met anyone whose played it outside Newfoundland, so I haven’t had the chance to. Playing with partners is a lot of fun, I miss it.

    Are the two player rules for Space Alert are more advanced? It looks like you play it using a time limit, if you gave it a shot without while you’re learning it might be less stressful.

  • We go through phases of intense obsession with Ticket to Ride every few months! Then it fades off for a bit again, but it’s not a game I’ve ever gotten really tired of.

    And yeah, I agree about learning new games - I love playing a game for the third or fourth time, but actually learning a completely new game, especially if it’s not from a more experienced player but rather from a rulebook, is always really frustrating.

    josie said:

    Are the two player rules for Space Alert are more advanced? It looks like you play it using a time limit, if you gave it a shot without while you’re learning it might be less stressful.

    I haven’t really studied the rules yet, but perhaps there are indeed some extra rules for two players. Good point about the time limit - I guess it is a pretty essential element of the game, but even so, it might be helpful to just remove it while figuring out what we are meant to be doing in the first place.

    On some level, I still feel that it might be a good idea to just play it in a group setting first, if only because my experience with Pandemic is that it’s not as beginner-friendly as you’d think - while it’s nice that less experienced players don’t have to compete against ones who’ve played it 50 times before, what happens a lot of time is that “teamplay” really just means that the more experienced players order around the less experienced ones. So for that reason, I think it might be nice to already learn it with some friends, rather than invite them to play along when we already know how it works.

  • So we ended up trying out Space Alert in the meantime, but after two play-throughs we are completely unable to imagine what could possibly be fun or satisfying about that game. I’ll try to sell it to make some space for new games in the board game shelf.

    I did however get a voucher for the local board game shop as a birthday present, which I used to get the games Yspahan and Village today. Village we haven’t tried yet, but it seems like it should be fun; and in any case, the somewhat macabre preoccupation with death (it’s a worker-placement game in which your workers die, and having them die in the right way is an important step towards victory - after all, what better way is there to make your family the most influential one in town than to provide for some honourable deaths?) seems like a nice touch for a 30th birthday present. Yspahan seemed like a really nice game on the first two play-throughs; it has both wooden camels and an interesting dice-rolling mechanism, and is pretty quick and satisfying to play (though some of the rules were definitely a bit confusing at first).

    I also recently bought an extremely light-weight board game called Liebe und Intrige (Love and Intrigue, but it’s only available in German), in which you play as a 19th century gentleman trying to find suitable husbands (preferably of high social standing) for his three daughters. There is little room for strategic depth, but lots of room for entertaining banter.