Boardgames 2023

I’d be up for some async BGA Ark Nova if anybody’s interested.

I am a 100% BGA novice, but just bought a premium account last week to play games with a friend.

dionisus1122 is my username.

I’m down to play some games with anyone who can tolerate me learning the game and the system at the same time

I’m interested in BGA (or yucata!) asynchronous games… matttutor here and there. slow but steady play assured.

(Is there a QT3 BGA group already established?)

I’m also interested in some async multiplayer boardgaming.

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: The Board Game Arena water cooler: jump in here to play boardgames with other Qt3 folks!

Please include me in your club. I would even be willing to take a leadership position, like Minister of Flax, or Secretary of Whaling, or even Vice President in Charge of Making Sure the Islands Are Set With The Correct Side Up.

Whoa, very cool find, @Strato! Also, a great way to make use of the modular decks Rosenberg is known for! Because that link up there is someone creating a campaign for Feast for Odin using the cards from different decks included in the game to set up specific kinds of scenarios. A very clever way to flex a very flexible design and its various decks of cards.

Have you played Andrew Pfister’s Maracaibo? It’s a piracy themed game set in the Caribbean and it’s got a reputation track for the three nationalities vying for control of different colonies. You can help Spain, England, or France take over colonies, and as their fortunes rise and fall, players basically “buy favor” with the different nationalities, and then lend a hand accordingly. These are one of the main sources of victory points.

After showing the game to one of my machine-brain friends who can see into these games like Neo sees into the Matrix, he said, “Oh, it’s a stock market”.

So I’ve sort of thought of Maracaibo as a stock market game. I don’t think that would really fit the bill for “something with the business and stock mechanics of 18xx but that plays in under two hours”, but as someone who was never able to wrap his head around stock markets, I finally found a sort of stock market I “get”, even if it’s not technically a stock market at all.

Are there any non-18xx games that you felt have come close to what you’re looking for in 18xx games?

I was hoping he would come tell us himself, but IIRC, it’s basically the same as Twilight Struggle: you have to know the cards and play accordingly. I’ve always come to Ticket to Ride as a just “play by the seat of your pants and see what happens” game, but if you understand the available routes and can anticipate what other players are trying to do to block them, you’re playing a very different kind of game. And, yes, to your point, it involves playing to win (a.k.a. a level of cutthroatedness that might not jibe with images of a picturesque family seated around the dining room table scooching colorful plastic trains around an equally colorful map of the USA).

Note that I haven’t “come around” on Ticket to Ride as I have Agricola, mostly because there’s no way to play Ticket to Ride solitaire. Unlike Agricola, it demands interaction with other players.

Yeah, I understand. This would bother me if Rosenberg hadn’t invented Agricola way back from before Good Boardgame Design had been invented. For a worse offender – because it should know better – see Terraforming Mars, which presents the solution as a “variant”.

Anyway, the solution is drafting.

Drafting your starting hand in Agricola is pretty much the only way to play once you’re playing for real. When you’re learning, or during casual games with casual players, or to set a baseline score in solitaire, it’s fine to just play whatever cards you’re dealt (or even no cards at all, as I believe the rules suggest!). In those cases, if the stars align, you might get a couple of cards that work together and that’s fine, you can ignore the rest. That’s how most people probably play, so they don’t mind useless cards because they’re never going to play them all anyway, right?

Furthermore, many of these cards that you might consider useless, that you decided to remove from your copy of the game, are probably just very situational. Which isn’t the same as “useless”, but can be close. So I get it, but I think there’s something going on more than just Rosenberg not knowing better than the cull the useless cards.

“Buy all the card decks”? Wait, are you guys buying and adding in add-ons? In that case, you’re well beyond my purview. I wasn’t even aware of add-ons for Agricola. I only know the base games (I own the 2007 original release and the 2016 reprint, and the differences between them are fascinating for a number of reasons!), which each come with four (?) decks, graded for complexity, if I recall correctly. The complex cards are naturally going to have more that are situational. But if you’re just throwing decks together with add-ons and then drawing starting hands, well, yeah, that’s liable to be a bit of a goat-rope and no one would blame you for thinking Agricola is a loosey-goosey and outdated worker placement design from the olden days. But as someone who once thought the same thing, I’m convinced I wasn’t appreciating the full picture.

Gah, I can’t believe I’m in a boardgaming thread defending Agricola and Ticket to Ride. We live in interesting times, y’all. : )

I’m not aware of this as a thing in Le Havre. There’s one small deck of special buildings that there will only be a few of in the game, but they’re not hugely impactful. Unless I’m missing an expansion or something.

Yeah, there were, in addition to multiple lettered decks of occupations and minor improvements in Agricola’s core box, also like four or five cheap expansion decks you could get if you wanted, some pretty weird.

I just feel like that is a unique selling point nothing else he’s done has on its side. even if they have a couple modular decks, none of them had that level of support.

At least the original printing had basically no pretension of game balance. There are cards that look like “win game” cards on the first reading, and turn out to be exactly that (Taster; Chamberlain; Wet Nurse are all pretty wtf). There are cards that one could charitably describe as situational, except that the situation where they’re useful can’t realistically arise in a serious game. Their value is to count as an occupation or improvement for some other requirement or effect. If you can get value out of Manure, just what are the opponents doing?! And then there are cards like Holiday House, that aren’t even charitably situational. I think the only reason to play Holiday House is to humiliate your opponents. “Look, I can make the worst imaginable move in the game, and still win.”

The amount of unique content in Agricola was absolutely crazy by the standards of the time. I would bet that there are cards in the game that weren’t playtested even once. It is a tour de force of design, but there are plenty of cards that Rosenberg shouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt on :)

Don’t the 2007 and 2016 releases have different cards included? I obviously don’t know the cards as well as you, but I would be surprised if some of what you’re talking about wasn’t cleaned up in the 2016 release, which wasn’t shy about changing stuff. Because by that time, Good Game Design had been invented!

I do know my friend was telling me about goofy UFO cards and whatnot for Agricola, but I had thought he was talking about promo card nonsense. I guess any successful game that’s been around since 2007 is going to accumulate a whole mess of junk around the periphery. I find it hard to believe there’s a “useless card” problem, especially with the 2016 version, but I’ll take your word for it. And I stand by my claim that the solution is drafting!

Alexander Pfister’s games with stock taking mechanics usually use then in the same way that similar euros do — they are a shared way to divvy up victory points between players at the end of the game. There may be other mechanics involved, but usually this is their basic function.

In 18xx games, stocks function more or less like real life assets.They are created when companies are floated (through an IPO or otherwise) and can be bought and sold relatively freely. They both contribute value to players for end game scoring and also can generate dividends based on whether or not the controlling players issue them with their companies.

What also sets 18xx apart is the stock shenanigans that you can do with them. Historicay speaking, the 19th century was when a lot of the stock market rules that exist today were formed, mainly from all the craziness that happens with railroad companies. One common example is for players to build up one company and get investments from other players, only for them to quietly shift all of its assets to a new company, and then sell off their shares so that another player is stuck with the trash company. It can be quite brutal at times, which also sets it apart from more cuddly euros.

However, most 18xx games I’ve played tend to have a weak endgame. In fact, for many of them (1830 included) the last few turns are often simulated by using a spreadsheet method rather than playing, which isn’t very fun. Some newer 18xx games end when certain trains are bought or even after a turn limit, which I think are better than the normal endgame condition (bank runs out of money).

I haven’t seen any yet. There are games that replicate the business optimization or network building mechanics (notably Age of Steam and it’s ilk) and I know that there are also some stock games, but it’s the combination of the two sides of 18xx that makes them compelling. Unfortunately, it is also what makes the games so long and rules heavy (though actually not as complicated as some modern euros).

Was excited for City of Big Shoulders, since that looked similar, but from what I’ve heard it is just another action-optimization euro game with minimal stock mechanics. 18Lilliput was a very streamlined and portable 18xx game, but it ended up very bland and still took pretty long to play.

18Svea is a good mini-18xx experience (caveat: I don’t play a ton of 18xx). All the mechanics of a full-fat 18xx except for private companies and priority deal, which are combined into a weird, but very functional, set of special power cards.

I expect so based on what you said earlier, but I don’t think I ever played the remaster.

You could give Continental Divide a try, it’s the second most 18xx-like cube rail game (after the dismal Baltimore & Ohio).

It has players buying stocks, operating companies on the map to produce dividends, and the share ownership determining who gets to operate each company. You can’t sell shares, but there are stock market shenanigans to be played. Both the share game and the operations game are really tight; you get to make very few decisions but each one is hugely impactful.

It’s pretty math heavy though, and getting your calculations wrong on e.g. how well capitalized a company will be is fatal. Two hours is only realistic if people are able to do their math on other players’ turns.

For something more euro, there’s the recent East India Companies:

Despite its simplicity of the stock mechanism, the stockmarket is the heart of that game, not something bolted on after the fact. But note that every player is playing a single fixed company. You can play the markets, but not take over or dump companies.

Both of the games are heavy on the importance of turn order manipulation. I assume that if you like 18xx, that won’t be a problem.

I’ve played about a half dozen cube rail games, though not Continental Divide or B&O. Most are basically the filler version of 18xx, though again don’t really have much in the way of stock trading mechanics. They are a great way to introduce people to stock games though.

I’ll take a look at this, but it looks very euro-y (nothing wrong with that, but it’s just different than 18xx).

There’s a million decks. It’s as bad a Ticket To Ride. But unlike TTR, these are all official ones, rather than the thousands of fan-made expansions clogging up BGG’s system.

I never bought any, I ended up selling Agricola due to hating it.

I haven’t seen you defend TTR once, each time you poop on it with “But you wouldn’t catch me playing it!” ;)

(ps TTR rules)

Ticket to Ride is the way to get people “into” boardgaming. Were it not for that game, I don’t think my friends would have quite seen the beauty that is sitting around a table, placing little trains and just in general enjoying the reactions that stem from blocking each other. My friends are also shift workers, always tired, normally in some form of feeling stressed because of work, so something simple like Ticket to Ride works. And from there, I’ve introduced other games that are also a little more complex, but not overly so.