I'm just saying theres many levels of orders of magnitude higher complexity games pushing down from their more complex territory to keep the eurogames simple, relatively. If there's a push against eurogames its probably from the bottom up. The days of the bottom being very weak like chutes n ladders or monopoly are mostly gone so eurogames have to up their game a bit, which seems to result in games more complicated than a single page like the old days of carcassone.
Still for request for simple games, there's card games like Fluxx, which is old but under continuous development such that 1990s fluxx isn't 2014 fluxx. There's a whole genre of bluffing games, Sheriff of Nottingham and the various who is the werewolf games. Then there's organization games like the dice version of space cadets which takes about two minutes to set up and about three days for your voice to recover from all the arguing (unless your starship is more disciplined than ours LOL)
- ASL fan
Nah, both simple and complicated board games are more popular than ever. This particular list is focused on the complicated side. But off the top of my head some great and recent simpler ones:
Codenames, Bring Your Own Book (free if you print your own copy), Potion Explosion, A Fake Artist Goes to New York, Spaceteam, Colt Express, HABA Go Cuckoo! A Wobbly Nest-Building Game (Jenga-esque!), Wits and Wagers.
You can teach the rules of these amazing games in about a minute: Love Letter (best card game ever?), Hand of the King, Splendor, Carcassonne.
You can teach the rules of these equally great games in about 5 minutes: Forbidden Island, Inis (my favourite game of the year!), Not Alone (a brilliant cat-and-mouse game card game that scales from 2 to 7 players )
Star Realms is not as easy, but most people can pick up the basics pretty quickly, and it's one of our favorites. The app is also great!
It requires more setup, but King of Tokyo is easy and fun, too. The main problem with King of Tokyo is that it soon becomes obvious that rolling for points is the best approach most of the time. King of New York fixes this, but new people are more likely to struggle with the rules.
Zombie Dice is almost purely a game you play while doing something else, but it doesn't get much easier, and it's still pretty fun.
Another game that is pretty quick to pick up is Machi Koro.
We ended making a little stock game called "Day Traitor" where on your turn you play one of your three cards that let you see the future of two stocks, followed by selling and buying stocks, and cash out for gold. Get 10 gold and you win.
The amusing part is that on the back of the card half of the information (either the stocks or the amount they will change) is visible so everyone else around the table can see this partial information. And to go with that you might have just bought a bunch of "Red" stock further leaking information that you think it will go up and so the person going after you might also buy Red. When you buy a stock it gets a bonus $1 bump in price (as well a negative $1 bonus when you sell). This all combines to create many situations where we try to convince each other the now is the time to buy/sell something to great amusement because doing so might help you. Over the course of the game you need to cash out for gold, but the more gold you buy on a turn the more expensive it is so you want to acquire gold at just the right speed for however the game plays out.
There is a little bit more, but that is the meat of the game. It has been a lot of fun designing it with our group and just need to get some art and then I will stick it up thegamecrafter.com or somewhere so at least we can get a copy. We went through a lot of design choices where we found something fun, but would cause a turn to take twice as long or double the explanation time or setup time. We ruthlessly would cut anything that didn't add fun or broke our requirements of fast quick setup and explanation and in the end created something pretty fun.
Edit: Also, I really want to play this. Please do that Show HN so I know I can get this game somehow. :)
Are there good, easy to learn party games from the past few years? Codenames is a huge hit, and released a Codenames:Pictures followup this year.
Insider is sort of a 20 questions game where one of the guessers knows the buzzword, and must help push the team towards the goal within the time limit without being voted as the insider at the end of the game.
Secret Hitler situates players in 1930's Germany, pitting liberals against fascists in a social climate favoring authoritarian policies.
Sushi Go Party! is a card drafting / set collection game that's fairly easy to explain to novices, and a lot of the appeal is in the variable setup. This version also scales to like 8 or 10 players, if need be.
Captain Sonar is more complicated, but varies with the player's duties (First Mate is considered easiest by my group). It involves two submarine teams hunting one another. The mix of roles i interesting, from easy things like First Mate charging systems, to more challenging roles like Captains navigating the ship without giving away position or Radio Operators tracking the enemy ship and narrowing down their position. Most of the rules are simple, and the rulebook's size is mostly attributable to explaining the more complicated maps. Personally, I like the radio operator, as it's something of a real time Japanese pencil puzzle game.
That's the intro, beginners board game to these complex Euro games.
But I guess that kinda proves your point...
They take like 2 minutes to set up, 2 minutes to understand the rules, and are loads of fun even for kids (maybe not so much on the kids with the Hitler).
But this is an awfully short and simplistic decision tree, isn't it?
I agree that auctioning/trading can be interesting, but if you play with experienced strategy players or seasoned eurogame-gamers you will either find that A) there is a naive sucker at the table who will make an uneven trade and hand another player the victory or B) find out that everyone will hold on to their cards.
I loved playing Monopoly as a kid, but comparing it now to German Boardgames like Settlers of Catan I realize now that kids are a bit stupid (and I was no exception) and it just felt great to count the paper money.
In this regard I (we) have had a lot of fun with King of Tokyo (the Power Up! expansion is cheap and IMO required). There is also the newer King of New York that supposedly fixes some balance issues (and a Power Up! to that as well).
I've also heard good things about 7 Wonders.
Ticket to Ride is great fun too.
Button Men is fun, and possibly free if you print it, but requires some dice.
Exploding Kittens and Love Letter are two other games that are quick to explain and fast to play (and that we play somewhat regularly). Basically, a good list might be Board Game Geek's list of Party games: http://boardgamegeek.com/partygames/browse/boardgame?sort=ra...
to a few friends. They all liked it and a couple bought it to play with their children.
The rules are reasonably simple, setup takes about 5 mins.
Success requires some strategy and some luck. Games usually take about 30 mins.
Correction: "giant wood block stacking game" as the "giant jenga" product isnt exactly giant imgo.
Not fun at all and things get too tense.
Munchkin is slightly more complex but worked as well.
I also think Zombie Dice is a pretty fun game while being relatively easy.
The rules are often not as concisely or clearly explained or the iconography is confusing.
Once you get down to it, it's easy.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
But as a fan I have to say, that board game is not based on Kim Stanley Robinson's trilogy. Because the game is about terraforming mars and not about politics, although there was a minor subplot about mars terraforming going on in the background of those books. Am I taking fucking crazy pills?
Diplomacy. Axis & Allies (some variants more than others). Liberte. Illuminati. Ticket to Ride. ASL (esp SK's by MMP). Carcasonne. Empire Builder. Acquire. Puerto Rico. Dominion. Empire of the Sun. Uno. Fluxx.
I've been working on developing a couple board games for a couple of years now, and at the start of that campaign, I ran into Gil Hova's Bad Medicine on Kickstarter. On a whim, I sent him an email through his website asking for some advice about creating board games, not really expecting much of a response.
What I got was a 4-page email of well-thought-through answers to all of my questions, and a bunch of additional pointers furthermore. I met Gil at the Boston Festival of Indie Games in 2015. Super nice guy.
I have The Networks in my collection, but haven't got it to the table yet, but I eagerly await my first play-through.
The current era of board gaming is definitely a move into excess - it reminds me of the cycles we go through in fiction and literature - where we move from the spare, crisp words of Richard Yates or Raymond Carver into the florid excesses of William Vollmann and David Foster Wallace.
I don't see a need to demonize excess - it just is one of the extremes of our experience. I didn't quite follow Rosenberg once Caverna was released - it seemed like he had merely translated Farmville into cardboard - a giant stack of little square in-app purchases. However, I think his ambitions are paying off - there _is_ fun to be had in excess. It's just difficult to pull off a tasteful bacchanalia. But his latest feels like a realization of this.
Whatever - I do still like Ra more. I am just not going to be disgusted with myself for two hours spent amassing a horde of tiles printed with racks of ribs, pregnant sheep and English crowns for the Norse god of the moment. This was just what we did in 2016.
The problem with year's best lists for board games is that you won't close in on what's best from 2016 until 2019 or 2020. Board games don't easily fit in with the typical revolving year of fashion; they're mathematical/economic constructs with lots of emergent characteristics, and their true values are only discovered over time, unevenly. All you generally get from a "best of the year" list is a "bestsellers of the year" list, which within the long development/marketing/shipping/marketing cycle of game production, boils down to a "preorders of the year" list.
I think boardgaming is falling into a cycle where (issued too soon) lists like these are falling into a harmonic cycle with game productions (because of their need to synchronize around yearly major gaming conferences) and informing the qualities to be looked for in next games to go into production. Luck is pushing the industry in a direction that optimizes for marketing and not quality or fun. Boardgaming has always been prone to this. Before hobby boardgaming, it was Christmas and the toy cycle.
To get a real best of list, you have to play a large selection of games from this year, and with the vast amount of games issued, you'll have to have that number filtered by lots of people whose opinions you respect before you can have a reasonable expectation that you've touched most of the best games from this year. The only people who do this are the Spiel des Jahres jury. They're going to issue the best quick recommendations, and when their picks are not that fun, it probably means the entire industry was not that fun.
I don't communicate in product recommendations.
edit: Looking at the list above, though, I did forget that Medici got a reprint. It's another of the Knizia auction trilogy with Ra, should always be in print.
1. Pyramid Arcade
3. Medici (reprint)
4. World's Fair 1893
6. Animals on Board
That being said, I own several 2016 games I haven't been able to get to the table yet: Oceanos, 13 Days (Cuban Missile Crisis), Codex, Circular Reasoning, Glux, Santorini, Mechs vs Minions, and Imhotep. All of which I expect could possibly add to or replace something on the above list.
2. Pyramid Arcade
3. Hands in the Sea
4. Energy Empires
5. Mechs vs Minions
6. Medici (reprint)
7. Via Nebula
8. Millennium Blades
9. Power Grid: The Card Game
I take it that you like the most recent incarnation?
edit: also, not the Shogun I was mentioning, which is the Dirk Henn game https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/20551/shogun which is the same game as Wallenstein, but with a different map.
The perfect combination of luck, strategy and diplomacy IMO. It is a game for those long winter afternoons though, as the average game ive played lasts at least 4 hours (once we went nearly 10 hours).
But i would say that over 50% of game time is spent just chatting to the other players about Japanese history and other interesting stuff during play.