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I still don't like bluffing games. Never have.
Azul - That is definitely a modern classic. It's also one of my go to gateway games. Casual gamers and even non-gamers seem to grasp it pretty quickly and almost everyone I've played it with has enjoyed it and wants to play it again. I think the best measure of a good gateway game is the number of people that went out and bought the game after playing it. The top 3 for me following that criteria have been Ticket to Ride, Azul, and Sushi Go Party.
Scythe - I love Scythe so much. I totally get how some people feel misled when they see the game set up and expect the game to be an alternative universe cold war game with epic battles, but I love everything about it. I appreciate that fighting battles is beneficial - but only to a certain point. I think it balances military value a lot better than most games - especially Through the Ages. I absolutely love Through the Ages, but if you ignore Military in that game, you will lose and you will likely get absolutely crushes. I like it when a game gives you the option to fight with other players if you want to, but doesn't require it to win.
Specter Ops - I would like to play it, but still haven't yet. It looks like a super-powered version of the old 80s game Scotland Yard.
Fireball Island - One of my friends in middle school owned this and it was my favorite game back then for several years. The same friend picked up the rebooted version and it really is a game of pure nostalgia. Objectively, the gameplay is simple and kind of dull - it's still just a roll (draw) and move game. But the nostalgia aspect makes it somewhat fun. If you didn't play this as a kid, I don't think you will enjoy it very much now.
Anachrony - Turbopun mentioned Anachrony. I've only played it twice. It's a long, deep worker placement game, but it's awesome. It's deep and seems really complex, but once you understand that the time paradoxes are basically just loans you need to pay back, it becomes less confusing. The game feels like it has a real story arc the way it builds toward the meteor crash and then you need to draw people into your faction as the board falls apart. It takes a while to play, but I would really love to play it again.
Yay - BkSheikah is the guru champion of awesomeness.
I played Summer Pavilion for the first time tonight and I already like it much better than Azul. Not that I didn't like Azul, I thought it was only okay. But SP is one I definitely want to play again.
What is detective club?
"Hope is allowed to be stupid, unwise, and naive." ~Sir Chris
What is detective club?
Everybody has a hand of Dixit style cards and each player receives a notepad with the same word on it. However, one person receives a blank notepad. Then in turn order players play one card face up that fits the word and it goes around one more time so each person plays two cards. Then each player must describe why they think their card fits that word. So as the person with no idea what the word is, you need to watch the cards other people play and try to think of one of your cards that might match the theme, and then make up a reason of why your card matched. Then everybody guesses who they think had no idea. It's pretty funny when people who actually knew the word played bad cards and tried to explain it because it was the best they had.
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Man the longer I look at this topic, the more games that come to mind that I want to talk about. I guess I've gotten much deeper into the hobby than I realized. One night a week really adds up!
But anyway, wanted to comment on viticulture. I agree with your sentiment that the ending tends to feel...abrupt. The design tricks you into thinking it's an engine builder, but in reality, it's a sprint. I haven't played a ton of it (maybe 5 games) but I've found that it's almost always more successful to just sell off two of your fields immediately, build a cottage, churn two-buck chuck (low quality wine) like a madman** and just draw as many cards as possilbe. No kidding I have won Viticulure while only planting one vine. But maybe this sort of stuff depends on the group. I've always said I want to play a game to like 100 instead of 20, because the cards are OP and it's too easy to nickel and dime your way to a win.
**edit: to clarify what I mean is mainly just sell grapes or leverage the cards that say pay a grape to do something, or whatever. And if you happen to draw a low quality order, sure go for it, but don't go out of your way
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will respond to some, but realized i never posted this one!
30. Splendor (2014)
Category: Player vs Player
Genres: Set collection, drafting, tableau-building
Rules complexity (0 to 7): 1
Game length: 25-40 minutes
Experience: 25+ plays over 20+ sessions (2015-2020) with 2-4 players, including one with Orient module
Previous ranks: 13/100 (2016), 22/80 (2018)
Summary - Three tiers of market cards, five different suits of gems. On your turn, you collect gems, reserve a card to yourself, or buy one of the cards from the market. Cards all have the same ability: they are worth a number of victory points and they offer a future discount of one on all purchases in a specific suit. The player who gets the most victory points from cards wins once a points threshold is reached.
Design - The cards in Splendor are mostly functional, depicting art no one needs but effectively communicating cost and benefit. The real physical component of Splendor that's awesome is its heavy poker-chip resources.
The game design in Splendor is as minimal as its components. On your turn you take one action, and that's it. No round structure; no intricate combos. But the few actions available to you actually have tons of different options - which three gems should you get? Should you angle for a double-dip, and will that tip your hand? Can you hoard gems effectively to deny an opponent? Is it sensible to reserve? Should you build your engine or go for the steadier points?
While it varies depending on player-count (again, hate-drafting more powerful in a two-player game than in a four-player game, while you can go really deep in resources but the market may churn faster in four), it winds up being that the best strategy in Splendor tends to be racing by going for high-value cards. In my experience, the Nobles (associated more with a Tier 1 strategy) don't tend to happen if someone pushes for the Tier 3s fast.
This runs slightly counter to what I feel is fun for most players, which is getting your engine to a point where you can pick up basically any card for free. It's said that the Cities expansion addresses this, though apparently it introduces its own issues.
Experience - Splendor has been described as an incredibly silent game. Indeed, it's math-driven and features no real reason to talk to one another. And my first game was played agonizingly, with me staring at cards and chips, hoping that no one stole what I was angling for. That was pretty painful, even though I've had fun in silent tension too. A year or two later, it was available used, and I heard that Asmodee was phasing out the original awesome heavy components. I snapped up the copy despite not having loved it the first time, and it's become a major go-to.
A nice thing about Splendor is that it's simple enough that you can actually chat over it. Additionally, it's one of the fastest games to teach, and possibly the single fastest-to-teach eurogame I know. To me, that has tremendous value. It's the game that games like Azul aspire to beat.
Future - The only thing preventing Splendor from making more appearances is that on the home front it's not loved as much. I suspect its abstractness is a bit much; slightly more thematic or "build-stuff"-y games tend to be more appreciated. That said, I got it played with some old non-gamer friends just last week, and it was a huge hit. Vindication!
yet all sailors of all sorts are more or less capricious and unreliable - they live in the varying outer weather, and they inhale its fickleness
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Splendor is so awesome. I've yet to have an instance where I introduce it to a friend and they aren't asking to play another game of it after the first.
Splendor is good times.
does anyone even read this
Splendor is a good one, and I've played it a decent number of times
I don't particularly recommend 2 player mode, but the strategy is different and it was interesting to learn.
Continually surprised it doesn't support more than 4
You did indeed stab me in the back. However, you are only level one, whilst I am level 50. That means I should remain uninjured.
splendor is very okay, it's a well designed game but i was bored of it after playing it 2-3 times tbqh
it's an underwater adventure ride