nealkfrank

Do you have games that you REALLY want to like...but there is a barrier?

I have a couple games/game systems that I have fallen in love with the idea of playing, but learning about the games or the systems have just totally fallen flat. Some of them have grown on me since the first time I learned about them (see #Pax Pamir (Second Edition), I hated the first play through I saw, now I am enthralled with it and I have backed it on Kickstarter). I just think of games that I think I SHOULD like, whether I think it fits my taste, or I feel like it is a classic and it is my obligation to like but just struggle to find it interesting. Here are some examples.

18XX games - I have tried to learn 1846, 1822, I am gonna try and learn 1830 and I have even tried to learn #City of the Big Shoulders. I enjoy economic games, I enjoy trains and tile laying, but the dryness of the games have made it very hard for me to feel attached to the games. I figured since I am SUPER interested in #Age of Steam this would be a game system that I would also enjoy. So far it has not stuck. 

Chip Theory Games (#Too Many Bones/#Cloudspire) - I have watched multiple play throughs, I have read the rule books, I have fallen in love with the idea of these games...I just cannot bring myself to save up for a game like this when I feel like a game like #Aeon's End: Legacy scratches a similar RPG itch...but this not have super cool chips and neoprene mats....Like I said I have fallen in love with the idea of the game but I have a feeling it would not be accessible. 

Pax Games (aside from #Pax Pamir (Second Edition))- I have tried learning #Pax Porfiriana, #Pax Renaissance and #Pax Transhumanity but there are soooo many rules nuances that make it a challenge to enter the game. I love the idea of rewriting history or even learning more about a time of history that my schooling did not cover, but loving that idea has stalled at the mechanics and constant land mines in the rule set. 

#Android: Netrunner - I have never been into an LCG, I see the value in it, and a guy in my group is super into it. I can see why it would be a fun game or even a separate hobby within board gaming. I just get overwhelmed by the options, and even overwhelmed by the expected strategies. It almost feels like I need to follow a script with my decisions rather than having the freedom to move forward on my own. 


I was just thinking through what is realistic and what is my own dreaming and musings during this time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings. 

3 points by nealkfrank - updated 29 days ago | 62 comments | report | subscribe

theDL 35 days ago | 4 points[-]

For the most part, cooperative games. I just can't get into them. Especially RPG type games, like #Descent: Journeys in the Dark 2nd Edition, or #Mansions of Madness: 2nd Edition, or #The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth. It's fun to hang with friends and stuff, but the game does not really interest me at all. Plus it seems like there's actually more arguing with these than in competitive games, lol (depending on the group).

nealkfrank 35 days ago | 1 point[-]

I feel you on these. they all sound great in my mind, but whenever I see someone bust out an iPad to play the game I am turned off...

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theDL 34 days ago | 0 points[-]

Haha, it's not even that part that I don't care for. I just don't like the whole "move around on a grid, inspect stuff, maybe fight some stuff" style of game. I guess if I'm moving around a grid, I want it to be a bit more puzzley, like playing against an opponent in an abstract game like #Santorini, not just have the movement be to get from point A to point B. Plus if a game checks for line of sight, I'm out, haha.

nealkfrank 34 days ago | 1 point[-]

Ahhhh I see. I laughed a bit at the line of sight criteria...I totally get that. I have played one game where that was required and I did not love it...

You should look into #Quodd Heroes. It is moving on a grid but it is programming movement but you have a purpose for your moving. It is a big game so there is some forewarning. 

theDL 34 days ago | 1 point[-]

I'll check it out!

Skurvy5 Supporter35 days ago | 1 point[-]

At least you didn’t list #Star Wars Imperial Assault in here...

theDL 35 days ago | 1 point[-]

I haven't played it, but isn't it basically Star Wars Descent? If so, the theme automatically elevate it a few notches, but I'm still not that into it.

Skurvy5 Supporter35 days ago | 3 points[-]

The idea of #Twilight Imperium 4th Edition is so fascinating to me. I know I would really love to play that game. Just can’t ever imagine that happening. 

lanista 34 days ago | 2 points[-]

Same, sounds like a grand experience. But getting the right players that would actually spend a whole day playing and get them together at the same time sounds very out of reach.

nsayres1335 30 days ago | 1 point[-]

Same! Just finished reading all the rules, watching RTFM's video, and some of SUSD's playthrough. Played around on the TTS mod too, just to familiarize myself with it. It sounds like a ton of fun, but I don't know if I could even get 3 people to play with me - much less 5 or 6. Maybe one day.

legitster 35 days ago | 1 point[-]

I played it once and it was a huge disappointment. 12 hours of gametime, but the last hour is just a couple rounds of kingmaking. We kind of determined that if we ever had a whole day for games again, we would have more fun playing 3-4 games.

nealkfrank 35 days ago | 2 points[-]

Oh dang...12 hours is a long time to be doing one thing let alone a single board game!

legitster 33 days ago | 1 point[-]

To the game's credit, the time flew by. It didn't feel like there were any lulls.

Marshwiggle92 Supporter34 days ago | 1 point[-]

Which edition was it? 

legitster 33 days ago | 1 point[-]

4th

Marshwiggle92 Supporter30 days ago | 1 point[-]

I thought that one usually went faster.

philryuh Supporter34 days ago | 1 point[-]

I feel for the owner of the game.. did he/she decide to keep it?

legitster 33 days ago | 1 point[-]

Holding onto it - maybe just to show it off. I think we are interested in trying it again with a different group some time.

philryuh Supporter35 days ago | 2 points[-]

While I often mention #The Gallerist or other Lacerda games for these topics, I'm actually way more interested in the idea of #Too Many Bones. It has the story, the kind of dice management and leveling up that I'd love to try, and has really cool components. The biggest hurdles with the Chip Theory games are cost and the intense rules though :(

When my collection is at a point when there aren't so many games then I'm wanting to play with my wife, or if I'm 100% confident my wife will love the game (and that the length of gameplay won't be impossible to squeeze in), then I'd be willing to pay for the game especially since its solo mode is highly regarded.

nealkfrank 35 days ago | 1 point[-]

I am with you on Lacerda and Chip Theory games. I know I understand the rules, but teaching the rules is a whole different beast and having someone WILLING to dive into it with you is a whole separate beast from that lol. 

I think with a game like #Too Many Bones I can see it working better just due to it being coop and you are all working together to get he rules right! I least this is what I tell myself lol. 

philryuh Supporter34 days ago | 1 point[-]

Yeah.. I personally wouldn't mind going through the rules, even if it drives me crazy. But it just seems like a nightmare to teach (well, that's the impression I got from #Cloudspire at least) :(

If the time comes when we end up with a second baby and we basically get zero gaming time together, I might start buying only 1-2 games a year and focus on the best solo games, and wait for the day when we can play together. I'm sure by then, I would be experienced enough to explain it easily haha

nealkfrank 32 days ago | 1 point[-]

Ya I am getting the impression that I could play #Too Many Bones with someone who does not know the rules well and I could assist them through, Cloudspire is a different story especially PVP but there is a coop campaign but there is quite a bit more to know for that game in general. 

Skurvy5 Supporter35 days ago | 1 point[-]

I agree. The idea of those Chip Theory games sure are intoxicating. 

philryuh Supporter34 days ago | 1 point[-]

I'm very interested in seeing how their future games will be shaped by the addition of FFG's former creative director.

nealkfrank 32 days ago | 1 point[-]

Hopefully they do not pull back on the production quality. I feel like that is what defines them!

Marshwiggle92 Supporter34 days ago | 1 point[-]

I've been thinking about that as well. 

artberg30 32 days ago | 1 point[-]

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Courageous Bob 35 days ago | 1 point[-]

I really want to enjoy #Photosynthesis. I love the integration of theme and mechanics, the simple ruleset, the artwork and components. But I have just never really enjoyed playing it (admittedly that is only about 4 times). It always feels a little too dry. I guess in this case the barrier is me not quite gelling with more abstract games

nealkfrank 35 days ago | 1 point[-]

I feel like 4 plays is enough to get a grasp on a game and determine if it just does not gel with you! Do you enjoy any other abstract games?

Courageous Bob 34 days ago | 1 point[-]

I think often it is a little similar, I really appreciate the design of the game, but I am someone who quite enjoys being able to push my luck or be surprised in a game. I enjoy building a narrative or taking on a bit of role. As such a lot of abstract games just lack that kind of thing that sparks joy or makes memories for me.

nealkfrank 32 days ago | 1 point[-]

Ahhh got it, the theme is what draws you into a game and I respect that! I do not need a theme to pull me in, I love solid mechanics but I understand why theme is so important!

Courageous Bob 31 days ago | 1 point[-]

I think for me there is a base level of mechanical cleverness/elegance that a game has to achieve to ever be 'good' in my head. But after that point improved mechanics become less and less significant (diminishing returns) without a strong theme to tie them together into something intuitive and narrative and 'fun'. For me the joy in games has always been about the interactions (both as part of the game and in response to it) that happen around the table, and whereas mechanics make for a good puzzle and interesting competition. The laughter and jokes etc. tend to come more from the theme and how it makes those mechanics 'meaningful'.


None of this is in anyway to put down a love of mechanic focused games (or those that love them) and I do enjoy a good puzzler to smash my brain against!

nealkfrank 31 days ago | 1 point[-]

I can respect that, I have not played tooooo many theme driven games, and the ones I have played I did not love (See #Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game), but I can see myself loving a game like #Aeon's End. I think I put mechanics over theme but I see the value and my wife loves story/theme driven games so I am trying to find games with a good combo of both. 

Courageous Bob 31 days ago | 1 point[-]

Good luck on the search, let me know if you would like help with some suggestions.

I think for me it's when the theme and mechanics compliment and as such enhance each other is when a game really pops

nealkfrank 31 days ago | 1 point[-]

I am always open to suggestions! The two games that have gripped me so far with a heavier theme with interesting mechanics are any of the Aeon's End games and Too many Bones (super expensive and hard to find). Anything you recommend me diving into?

Courageous Bob 31 days ago | 1 point[-]

By the sound of it you and your spouse tend to prefer heavier games so I will err on that end of the scale. 

I have had a lot of fun with #Mistfall, it has a lot going on rules wise but once you learn it it plays pretty smoothly. It is a coop deckbuilder combat type game, a lot of fun and some very clever mechanics for both how each character plays and how the enemies target you.

Similarly the #Arkham Horror: The Card Game is dripping with theme but is also a really enjoyable legacy style deck builder that I can absolutely recommend.

Most of the dedicated 2P games I have explored tend to be on the lighter end as that is what my spouse enjoys but if you wanted a shorter game we love #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis as a lighter game (about 45mins) that feels very similar to twilight struggle

nealkfrank 31 days ago | 1 point[-]

Oh nice! I have not heard of Mistfall or 13 Days but both seem interesting. I will need to dive a little deeper on them!

theDL 34 days ago | 1 point[-]

I haven't played a ton of abstracts, but #Santorini is my absolute favorite. I recommend that to pretty much everyone. You can learn it in 1 minute, and the god powers give it basically endless replayability. I could play just the base game without the god powers over and over as well.

rlupino 35 days ago | 1 point[-]

This is an interesting topic. Most of the game you list I am interested in playing. and have considered purchasing but have not.   I believe there are two components involved in this process.  One, games I think I should like, because others have touted it highly, or it's high on a list or it's the penultimate of a genre,  and Two, this is a game I will get to the table with my game group.  I am always weighing what I think I would like vs what I think I can play with my group.  When I've overshot that boundary in the past the game ends up sitting on the shelf.  While lots of games today have solo modes, I'm just not a solo player.  A big part of why I play board games is the social interaction.  The challenge of beating another person, of working together to reach victory.  Who knows...maybe one day I will own Pax Pamir...and get to play it.

nealkfrank 35 days ago | 1 point[-]

I think this is where this thread stemmed from. Do I overshoot and hope that my group will be flexible and try a game with me? Do I come to terms that I may just play this game solo and am I ok with that? I have one guy in my group who I know will play Pax Pamir with me and I also have come to terms with it being potentially a lot of solo sessions with it!

Courageous Bob 34 days ago | 2 points[-]

I think I often overshoot with games, I get caught up in what a game could be rather than what it is likely to be based  on the people most available. However, sometimes when it works it glorious so I don't mind too much. I am not one to solo so sometimes it does back-fire although I am lucky enough to have multiple groupings of people to play with (even if some are further away than others) so will usually eventually find the right audience for a particular game.

nealkfrank 32 days ago | 1 point[-]

What are some games that you overshot but they turned out to be a success for you and your group?

Courageous Bob 31 days ago | 1 point[-]

I think #Archipelago ended up being too much for some of the people at my local games club, some of them aren't too keen on negotiation and didn't real go in for the semi-coop aspect. Fortunately, it was a big hit with a group of friends from university I still meet up with semi-regularly.

At a different point in time, I got #Great Western Trail, and it proved a little too complex for my family (who I had bought it as something to play at Christmas) but worked out great with the same uni group (it is now designated 'the cow game') and my then board game club.

nealkfrank 31 days ago | 1 point[-]

First thought, are you from Europe? A lot of the terms you used gave me that vibe!

Second thought, I just heard about Archipelago from Board Game Barrage and had never heard of it! I will need to look into it, semi-coop is an odd space to live in!

Third thought, GWT seems to a game that has simple mechanics that is amplified by the options given to you. I would play it if given the opportunity but it is in an odd place for me as well with my desire to own it! I am glad you found people that like it! You also have to call it the Cow game lol. 

Courageous Bob 31 days ago | 1 point[-]

Yes, I am from the UK, how about yourself? I am assuming the US/Canada?

Archipelago is one of my favourite games, once it clicks for players the negotiation and scheming is just wonderful. And the fact that each player has a secret objective but anyone can score points off of it is such a wonderful system as it means you never know exactly who is going to win as it's as much about working out how to actually score points as it is controling the islands/getting resources.

Yes, the rules are relatively simple but you have so many options for how to try and score points that it can be intimidating for new players. I have had it where I explain the rules and someone will say words to the effect of 'I understand but what exactly do I do?' 

Are there any games you have had surprise successes with?

nealkfrank 31 days ago | 1 point[-]

Ya I am from Southern California, born and raised!

Ahhhh that is interesting with the secret objective, #Troyes does a similar thing so you have to pay attention to what other people are doing so you can try and snake some points off them. Very interesting. 

There are for sure a lot of options, I think once you get to know the game there are strategies that become clear but the barrier for entry is high. 

I do not typically buy a game without doing my own personal research and asking around my group to see if the game interests them, so I have not had much of the surprise success games. If I got into gaming before I got married then I would probably have a much larger collection and there would have been more potential for that lol. 

Courageous Bob 30 days ago | 1 point[-]

Yeah, I really enjoy that, especially as the eurogamer in some people leads them to build engines and hoard resources, which isn't bad but they often forget to then put those resources to use in getting points or figuring out what others might be doing. Can lead to someone who seems to have been 'dominating' the map to then fall short on actual victory points. (I have very much had this happen to me one of the first times I played) So then on repeat plays the game becomes that much more interesting than a straight euro (or maybe not 'more' but just different and unusual).

nealkfrank 30 days ago | 1 point[-]

What has been your typical strategy? I have heard getting higher point cows is always good?

Courageous Bob 30 days ago | 1 point[-]

Although my previous comment was all about archipelago rather than GWT. There is no hidden scoring in GWT

Courageous Bob 30 days ago | 1 point[-]

I have won through high value cows and through building the really expensive buildings. I tend to play the long game (in all games not just GWT) so usually hit as many spots around the board as I can. This doesn't always work if everyone else rushes around as the game finishes before you can really hit the big points but it does lead to some very satisfying turns :D

nealkfrank 30 days ago | 1 point[-]

I have heard through some reviewers that the optimal strategy is to hit Kansas as many times as possible, so the opposite of taking it slow! I have not played the game so I have no say on this but I can see that being a challenge if your cows are not good. 

Courageous Bob 29 days ago | 1 point[-]

I can see how that could be effective, however, I think it would only work if most of the other player were also playing quick strategies. As otherwise the game will run long enough for other strategies to overtake that one: you lose a lot of points by going to Kansas, so while the money you get is helpful (I usually go their on my first lap) over time it would pale in comparison to the points/money other players would get for selling/having better cows or buildings or being able to go to the further cities etc. without taking that point hit every turn. The game ends when so many laps (kind of, it depends on what tokens are chosen but that's all a bit fiddly to explain) of the trail have been completed, so if your were playing 4 player and you tried to rush and the other 3 all took their time I think you would end up losing pretty hard.

nealkfrank 29 days ago | 1 point[-]

I guess that strategy would really depend on your ability to get good cows in your hand, and have advantageous stops on the board to help move your train forward to deliver your better cows! It is a tricky beast but like all games you need to be flexible! 

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