A lot of people have played Settlers, Ticket to Ride or Carcassonne, but after that, trying to decide the next game to try gets a little bit fuzzy. There are a bazillion choices and trying to choose ‘The One’ is a daunting proposition. So lets give you a list of recent games that are vying to become the next gamer/family wonder-mega-hit!
This has been a hit down the old Cafe with just about everyone who has played it. They could have called it ‘Sim City the Boardgame’, but they would have been sued and lost a lot of money so they didn’t, but I do it when people come in and ask about it. The premise is very simple, take a hex tile from the row of choices an add it to your suburb and then adjust your income, reputation and popultaion. Person with the most population winneth the game, Huzzah! One downside to the game is the book-keeping element which can be confusing in your first game, but once you’ve got a handle on it its pretty simple. The thing that I think captures most peoples imagination is the ability to build something without other people messing it up. Even if you lose, its nice to see your lovely creation sitting in front of you, with its mixture of airports, lakes, housing associations and parking lots. You can take solace in the fact that the person who won’s Suburb was a dump and probably full of crack dens.
Rise of Augustus
Its like Bingo on steroids! Hmmm, that description never really goes down that well. It is really good though, a shortish play time that usually leads to people playing it 2 or 3 times in a row. The idea is someone pulls tokens from a bag and you put your little soldiers on the matching symbols on your objective cards. When you complete them Holla, ‘Ave Ceasar’ and you get the bonus on the card and points as well. There are communal prizes that everyone is competing for and the game ends when one person has completed 7 objectives. Its a nice relaxing game with the tension resulting from hoping the symbol you need gets pulled from the bag as well as the push your luck in trying to compete for the best communal prize available. Its, simple fun and the huge variety of objective cards offer the replayability.
STOP! Panda Time! That’s right it has a cute Panda. Not sold? What are you? Dead! The Gardner must run around the expanding board growing bamboo while the cheeky Panda eats it. You make points by creating patterns with the garden tiles and bamboo as well as for eating the stuff. Its simple, fun and uber-cute. Wil Wheaton likes it a lot as well.
Lords of Waterdeep
Its set in the Dungeons and Dragons Universe, but thats about as far as the D&D bit goes. Its a classic European style ‘Worker Placement’ game (you stick a guy on a spot on the board and you get something that you use to make points). It has some stick-it to your opponent mechanics to spice things up a bit, but its mostly about tying to get the stuff you need to complete quests for points. It’s simple, fun and thinky enough that you feel you’ve really played a solid game. Its frequently on the tables down here at IBGC, so far I think the record is one table playing it 5 time in a row!
Its quite a jump from Catan to Agricola, but a lot of people make it and are very glad they did, so I’m going to include it here. It does have quite a lot of rules, but once you have it down it plays easily enough and is again a worker placement game. Your job is to build the best farm you can (Agricola means farming in Latin and its pronounced AG-RIC-OLA not AGRI-COLA) by collecting resources and ploughing fields and raising animals and growing crops and having a family to help and expanding your house and learning new occupations and fishing and baking and cooking and not begging and….you get the idea, there is a lot you can do. It does have a simple game as well as the complex one with all the occupations included, so you can learn the basics using the simple game and then add the other stuff in when you are ready. Its also a single player game as well, so if you have no-one to play with you can put on some Skrillex, bring out the chips and go at it by yourself. The beauty of the game is in the sheer number of occupation cards available. Over 300 in the base game, of which you will be given 7 and they will drive your strategy, meaning every game plays out differently. Its a beast, don’t get me wrong, but if your looking for something with some real meat on it, this could be the one for you.