Boardgames 2023

Same here @Strato. Wife and daughter love love love TTR, and it let me move them on to meatier fare like Viticulture and Obsession. For my wife’s birthday last month I got her Wingspan, which would not have been possible without TTR. And we still play TTR with the more complex Europe map.

My group plays TTR a fair bit as a palate cleanser after something heavier. I’m interested (but not particularly hopeful) to see what the forthcoming TTR Legacy does.

This is substantially different from the typical cube rail game in structure, and doesn’t feel anything like e.g. Chicago Express.

Sure. Neither of these suggestions is exactly 18xx, but if they were 18xx they wouldn’t be a two hour games :)

But they both have a meaningful stock system that’s deeply linked to a non-trivial operational system.

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I was taking a closer look at the BGG page for this last night. It’s quite amazing how much flak it has taken for its theme. We’ve come a long way since the black worker debacle with Puerto Rico.

The game looks fun, though a bit fiddly with the two markets that have to be updated each round. Also, is that a rondel-esque action selection mechanism I see? On a related note, Mac Gerry’s Imperial games are also great stock games with very original themes (especially Imperial 2030, which feels almost prescient at this point).

Panamax is a great game with some stock elements as well. In that game you operate a shipping company in the Panama Canal. What I love about it is that there are so many shared incentives. You don’t just invest in other players companies and get their dividends, but you can also load cargo on their ships, and operate their ships which might also push other ships through the canal. It’s deliciously opaque who benefits from what.

Including Puerto Rico itself, which got rethemed from being colonial to post-colonial!

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

Has anyone here played both Terra Mystica and Gaia Project? Which would you recommend? I’ve been in the mood for a heavy euro game recently and these two are constantly highly ranked on BGG.

They’re both great and pretty much the same game. It depends on how many people you’ll play with and maybe setting if scifi or fantasy tips you in a direction. There is no theme in these games. Personally, Gaia edges out Terra Mystica because of the addition of the tech tree and modular boards. Terra mystica plays more players (5) and my experience with Gaia 3 people is the most I would want to play with plays up to 4. Other than that very similar games and you can’t go wrong with either. Both are on BGA if you want to try them before you purchase.

That’s really cool, I got rid of all my Memoir '44 stuff a while back but I still get the occasional itch to play. I will look it up on BGA, that seems a much better (or quicker, at least) way to play.

Memoir '44 is a game I’ve wanted to learn how to play but just haven’t gotten around to yet. It looks like something I’d dig.

I love Memoir, because it is a wargame, but strips out a lot of the stress and confusion of a typical wargame.

You don’t have to process the whole tactical map each round. You draw cards, and those cards tell you which sector (of which there are 3) you can execute orders, and how many units you can order. Your decision space shrinks down a lot, so you don’t have the pressure of trying to figure it ‘all out’ at once.

Then once you execute your actions, you’re at the mercy of dice rolls. I can imagine some people hating this randomness, but I like it because it reinforces the casualness of the game, and helps keep things moving along in a speedy fashion.

So you get all this wargame experience in really accessible and satisfying fashion.

It isn’t rule heavy, but you do have to learn how different terrain impacts movement, attack, defense and dice rules. Also, there aren’t a lot of units - but how infantry, special forces, armor and artillery also have to be learned. NONE COMPLICATED and that is really it.

The BGA implementation means you don’t have to find the rules or terrain card to understand the difference between a hedgerow and hill - a simple tooltip tells you and the system itself guides on legal actions and consequences (like can you move and still attack, retreating, etc.)

I know you’ll find some Terra Mystica pursits, and they’re a fascinating bunch who shouldn’t be ignored! There’s some wonderful stuff in Terra Mystica, especially for the purists who appreciate it. But for everyone else, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend just going with Gaia Project. It’s such a marked improvement on the basics of Terra Mystica, in how the gameplay is presented, in how you grow your economy, in how you get more powerful as you go, in map expansion. Even just the introduction of Gaia Project’s tech tree, where a lot of the gameplay mechanics are arranged into a simple intuitive scheme, makes all the difference.

So while they’re both solid games, there are just too many modern improvements in Gaia Project with its dramatic smoothing out of the learning curve jaggies, with its faster and more intuitive “game flow”, and with its more consistent theming. I wouldn’t hesitate to steer someone to Gaia Project over Terra Mystica.

About 600 games of TM vs. 3 games of GP probably tells you where my preference is.

Now, despite what Tom says, this is not due to me being a purist. (I mean, of course I am a purist, but that’s not the reason I prefer TM out of the two). It’s that the things that GP does better are all in the parts of the game system that are the least interesting, while the thing where it fails (for me) is the most interesting part.

It all comes down to the map. The board play is what makes TM, and derivatives, something more than a typical Euro economic conversion game. Sure, a big part of the game is investing resources to get stuff that’ll give you more resources. But the meat of the game is understanding what everybody intends to do on the map, when they’re going to do it, and making your plans work with what the other players will do. It’s the races for crucial spaces on the board for either making towns or connecting your empire, maximizing the neighborhood bonuses, etc where the game becomes truly interactive rather than just the typical “I took an action space you wanted”. (And obviously what happens on the map then feeds back into the more abstract economic engine, and the decisions you have to make there.)

The accomodations they had to make to the system in GP to make the modular map work at all make the board play less interesting. The modular maps themselves are fundamentally less interesting too. The fixed maps have been hand tuned for satisfying gameplay, and have this delightful path toward mastery over multiple games that’s just not there when the modular maps basically wipe out your learning from game to game. (Someone could argue that being able to gain that mastery is bad, and part of the skill of the game should be the ability to go in cold to a new random map and play it well. But I don’t know if that’s realistic. Even expert TM players are strikingly bad at correctly judging how a new TM map will play; it’s just really hard to predict what the interplay between various factions should be until you’ve seen it play out a few times. The games are just way more satisfying once everyone’s intuition has been appropriately calibrated.)

GP is undeniably a better cube pusher, but if all you’re looking for is a cube pusher, then is anything from the TM family really the best choice?

Excellent observations, @jsnell, and I was hoping you’d weigh in! That’s the kind of commentary on a board game I wish I could find on the internet without having to wade through all the inane rules questions, desperate justifications for ill-advised purchases, and juvenile cheerleading that make up 99% of the posts at Boardgame Geek. :)

By the way, if you guys enjoy listening to someone who really knows and appreciates Terra Mystica, there’s more where that post came from!

This is probably a dumb question, but does anyone use a card shuffling machine to assist with this hobby?

I’ve seen it discussed in board game circles, but only as a bad idea. Apparently card shufflers can damage cards over time, which doesn’t really matter with easily replaceable standard decks, but could be a real problem with board game cards.

I figured that would be the case. I don’t care much about that issue, to be honest, but I also think it’s kind of dumb to not just shuffle the cards myself.