These games for the most part lack a player elimination mechanic. When games can last a couple of hours, players see early elimination as a failure in design. Board game designers then strive to keep everyone in the game and actively participating until the end of the game. This pairs nicely with hidden or partially hidden victory point systems.
Direct confrontation is largely replaced with competition over action selection, resources, and softer forms of territory control. Players with bad experiences of being ganged-up on are open to the competition of being the first to gobble up pools of resources, or shut out other players from taking exclusive actions.
I'm not that familiar with video games take on these ideas, but my little experience says they tend to do the opposite.
I've always wanted a decent Civ-style computer game that did that, it would solve the "diplomatic AI in a zero-sum game makes no sense" problem.
Careers has way too much of a luck component and not enough direct competition for serious gamers but for a light family game it's basically a not terrible version of Monopoly or Life.
Edit: also from the designer of Careers: invented language Loglan. I guess there's something to the "language as cooperative game" theory.
Your response reminded me of another theme common among designer boardgames: the manipulation of randomness. It's common to see non-replacement probabilities like drawing from a stack of cards or a bag of chits, and less common to see unmodifiable die rolls. Non-replacement randomness is an easy way to include a strategic component to what could otherwise be boring die rolls. If dice are used, often it's possible to manipulate the results post-roll a la The Castles of Burgundy and many other Stefan Feld games.
Twitch controls and player elimination are still huge with video games. Battle royale modes and MOBAs are very in, but any multiplayer game I remember playing a lot of was usually centered around this. FPS games, RTS games, fighting games, they are all about your reaction speed. A lot of modes will at least let you play the whole match of a game, but still require a heavy amount of confrontation and twitch gameplay. Turn-based games are a slog to play multiplayer though, so I can understand why that's the case.
There are a lot of people who enjoy twitch board games though, games like nerts or slamwich (both of which I'm not a huge fan of), so maybe the opposite is true of board games: that there's an untapped market out there for this style. I do really enjoy Spot-It for some reason however :)
I'm 31 now, and my twitch reaction is nowhere near what it was in highschool, yet Overwatch offers a whole bunch of characters (around half) who don't require (or don't have) twitch / reaction gameplay.
There are characters who heal the other characters just by being in their vicinity, characters with beam weapons which automatically lock on to opponents, etc.
If you die, you are out of the game for 6-10 seconds as a penalty, but not "player elimination" in the board game sense.)
The game simulates the rise and fall of civilisations, and a key part of the game is knowing when to call it quits with your current civilization and start playing with a new one. You skip a turn whenever you do that, so you can easily shoot yourself in the foot if your timing is off.
If you liked M.U.L.E., you will love Settlers of Catan.
But anyone with 8 or more cards has to discard half rounded down.
Take a look at Uwe Rosenberg’s games, particularly Caverna or Agricola.
Patchwork is great two player game, by that same designer, that I can even play with my mother. She's not particularly into games either.
My game of the year so far is Yokohama. If you like worker placement, I imagine you would like this.
Counter-Strike does, but each round is very short. What MOBA features player elimination? All the MOBAs I can think of have fairly short respawn times.
I suppose that RTS games with >2 players have this, but they are mostly know for 1v1 modes.
Oh..one great example is Bomberman, although some games have dead Bombers fling bombs from the side.
It's a team game, always 4 v 4. You can still see the game and talk to your teammates when you are dead. Everyone die within a minute usually. A death has not much impact -except a severe sudden disadvantage- since the entire team win or loose, there is no individual play.
Due to the game mechanics of 'aim time' this somewhat eliminates the huge advantages of ping time and those with super human reaction times.
Doing well requires good team strategy as well as deep understandings of tank mechanics such as armor weak spots, tank positioning to increase chances of bounces etc and also map strategy.
Therefore, the great players aren't those who have developed better reaction times, they are the ones who have developed deep knowledge and skill around the games many maps and 300+ tanks
It's the same for FPS at high level. Learn the map and the probably position for anytime at anytime.
They don't spend a lot of time aiming and moving when already knowing where the enemy will show up. Just have to click.
To give a good illustration, top players could almost play blindfolded.
Yes, there are tactical positions, but you can't just camp for most of them. They maps are large enough that your team must be dynamic enough to adapt.
You also can't just click without aiming. Damaging a tank always requires aiming, even if you know where they may show up. Many tanks can only be damaged effectively in small weak areas, depending on the gun of your own tank. This can require that you actually focus for several seconds on the spot you are trying to hit to get a good enough aim to actually hit it.
Twitch control yes, but elimination not really, in multiplayer video games it's timeout rather than elimination e.g. in CS you wait for the round's end (2~3mn usually), in MOBAs you have a time-out of variable length (caps out at ~2mn in DOTA).
And when there's an elimination system (e.g. Hearthstone Arena) you're not stuck waiting around for other people to finish, you can just go do something else (in-game).
Actual old-board-game-style player elimination is very rare in video games, otherwise it wouldn't be a defining feature of pubg.
Doesn't help when you want to stick with a group of players (e.g. friends, team) and brings its own kind if issues.
Can't do that when I'm with my friends for the evening.
Where boardgames solve it by making the "time to elimination" as long as possible relative to the game, videogames solve this by allowing players to return to the game quickly.
Elimination deathmatch modes exist, but they're usually an optional mode, and even then calibrated so matches take no more than a few minutes.
But saying PUBG model is ubiquitous? No, the die and respawn is in fact the common model, and I don't see that changing outside of battle royale style games.
> "Lack of a player elimination mechanic" is nearly ubiquitous in action games
Unless it is poolday.
* you can do what you want, but success chance is random
* action choice is random, success is deterministic
Obviously luck is not necessary for a good game, but I do think it makes certain elements of game design easier.
The dynamic you describe is my experience in approximately 20% of 4 player games, maybe 30% of 2 player games.
Really skilled Race players see a wide variety of paths to victory in my experience, so if someone has a lead on one strategy, you pursue a different strategy and it’s not usually not obvious who will win.
The first one makes everyone rich and causes rents just go back and forth for ages. The second one makes it take much longer to get monopolies on property groups.
The strategy everybody follows is basically "buy everything you can, and decline all bad trades". Buy everything, of course, to prevent others from making full property groups. Since there is no such thing as an equal trade, no trades are made.
As you can imagine, since nobody has full property groups, the game takes forever, it's terribly boring, and pretty much boils down to luck.
This is because if two players complete two monopolies first, they are basically guaranteed to be among the final two at a 4+ person table, as their early monopolies will quickly drain the other two or more players who refuse to make these trades and are therefore wasting time walking around, during which they’ll grow weaker and weaker due to your monopolies.
Knowing this, it almost doesn’t matter if the trade is equal, so long as you’re trading for a post-jail monopoly (pre-jail tends to be low value), because the winner, once you and your opponent have your improvements, will be decided by chance, as one of the two monopolists will bankrupt one of the other, more behind players first, and then take all their money and property, almost certainly netting themselves several more monopolies and funds for improvements.
Somehow a particular set of house rules got popular enough to make everyone hate monopoly. It turns a game of high stakes, high commitment resource scuffling, into a game where you either get knocked out fast or are given enough free assets that you can only lose in the slowest, most agonizing way possible.
It's kind of funny how a game designed to heavily favor aggression to make a point had that entire point negated by house rules.
An interesting read
There's been a ton of exciting developments in boardgames over the past few years. Legacy games introduced a whole new element to board games, starting with Risk Legacy, and richly continued by others, including Pandemic Legacy, which has reigned supreme at #1 on BoardGameGeek, the largest boardgaming website, for quite some time.
Dungeon crawlers that are more influenced by D&D and other pen and paper RPGs have been big, with things like Mage Knight, Descent, and more recently Gloomhaven being smash hits.
Board games with "AI" players, like Mansions 2e mentioned in the article, or the automata in Scythe, are influenced by video games in that you can even play single player against a psuedo-player, but not in many other fashions.
Even incredibly niche, boutique, and expensive games like Kingdom Death: Monster which is basically three games and a wallet draining miniature addiction in one very large box have become quite massive.
"Legacy" games, while somewhat innovative, sound like they're borrowing from pen and paper games (where characters might come back for new campaigns) rather than computer games (although CRPGs were heavily influenced by pen and paper from the start).
But popularity has increased even in Europe over the past decade. Just look at Essen Spiel - the 2000s were much bigger than the 90s in attendees, and they've had a nearly 30% increase in attendance in the past 5 years.
I was not saying Legacy games are borrowing from computer games - I disagree with the article on that, and my apologies if that was not clear throughout my comment. The only place where I think they have really done any borrowing is in the "AI" components that are more modeled after another player making decisions than static objectives you are playing against.
Does the term "lingua franca" mean anything to you?
Considering most sites with an international audience use English and most of those use American English specifically, this does not seem like a foregone conclusion.
HN is an English site mostly written in American English, do you therefore reckon its content is intended for an American audience?
Yes. The coverage and topics are heavily weighted towards companies in the Bay Area + local US events.
I'm not even entirely sure that there's been all that much of an increase in the number of friends I have who like to play board games. What's really changed is that the mass market retailers have started carrying these games, and the Lifestyle section of the local newspaper is suddenly talking about them as if they just appeared from out of the mists.
That's because their popularity has increased with the overall public, whether or not that is true of your immediate circle of friends.
For a long time in the UK and US board games were for children while wargames were for grown ups. It wasn't until fairly recently that board games have become popular here for adults.
I had the feeling they were quite successful, publishing 20 games: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamepublisher/5018/encore-boa...
There is a board game company that is very popular & uses Kickstarter a lot, called “Cool Mini or Not”, which reminds me a bit of the kids in Stranger Things. There are a variety of excellent minister miniature dungeon crawlers (Zombicide Black Plague for feeling like super heroes vs zombies, Arcadia Quest for PvP) or strategy games (Blood Rage), or tactical combat/thematic games (The Others, which is an all vs. one game of corruption and redemption tactical combat and horror elements like Stranger Things or IMO the Buffy spinoff Angel).
There are also some other great RPGs in a box like TIME Stories, Descent, and Star Wars Imperial Assault (the latter two are nearly the same system , all vs. One style gameplay). The big excitement however is lately about Gloomhaven, which might rise to top game on BoardGameGeek next year (and deservedly).
Imperial Assault is supposedly getting an app like this soon as well.
D&D and other pen and paper RPGs have been on the rise since before Stranger Things, and I think ST making it a plot element might be due to that, more than the other way around.
We've also seen a bigger push for some 'simpler' RPG systems that are a less rules heavy to try and entice newcomers to the genre. Fate has been the big one here, but others have stepped into the ring, and Fantasy Flight Games, which is a big name in the board game world, just released the Genesys rulebooks, which are based on their 'Narrative Dice' systems, which uses much simpler rules than a more traditional d20 style system. They had previously used it for their Warhammer and Star Wars RPGs, but Genesys is meant to be general purpose for whatever setting you may like.
Same problem with trying out Pandemic: Legacy. Damn social anxiety.
Card Kingdom / Mox is very popular; if you have some anxiety, I would recommend one of the other game stores in town. Meeples Games in West Seattle is very friendly and laid back. Uncle's can be chill, too, but I have not attended an event there since the Southcenter store closed.
I recommend checking the Adventurers' League site and visiting a few events at different locations; find which one matches your interests, best. Let the staff know you're new in the area and looking for a group; they'll redirect you to an organizer who will do their best to find you a table.
Alternately, there's a plethora of local gaming conventions around Seattle. Adventurers' Leagues are usually there, too. Same drill -- show up, let them know you're new and looking for new friends.
In some ways, if the friends are new to D&D as well, it's even easier, since they don't know what's supposed to happen either!
Steve Jackson is awesome, and there's definitely room on my shelves dedicated to Munchkin, Chez Geek, and Illuminati.
Despite Munchkin, etc, being very accessible, my understanding is that during the period the article talks about, where board games were "gone", it was very much relegated to the same sort of groups that would play D&D, GURPS, etc.
A small gamespace setup with Dominion, or 7 wonders (parallel turns, multiple paths to victory) are better intros imo.
Sushi Go! is another good "getting people into not-awful board games" game.
Looking into buying a dungeon crawler now (cool map and miniatures preferred) and another game like 7 Wonders, perhaps Puerto Rico.
Can you recommend any games?
Dominion. The strategy arises from observing how the specific cards that are part of any given game interact with each other.
Agricola. There's a lot of "designed" complexity here too, but a good deal more arises, particularly when you look at planning the critical eight first actions, and the path to the first additional family member.
Neuroshima Hex! is a bit nerdy looking, but it's simple without expansions. Retro apocalyptic setting with mutants and evil robots. A knife fight in a telephone booth, plays well up to 4 players. You fill up the hexagonal board with your troops (they mostly don't move) rotating them so that they will hit the most enemies. Then it either fills up completely or one of players plays Battle token, and everything goes off like a chain reaction. Units hit in melee or shoot in order of their initiative. High interaction, tight mechanics. Most people prefer it as a duel game though. You can play it online too.
Tigris and Euphrates is an old classic that has very few tile types to place, but they result in complex outcomes. I can't say very much about it because I only played it once on a game show, but it's on my to-buy list.
(There is no "beginner's luck" in boardgames. There's "rule explainer's curse". The player doing the explaining is distracted, not just by explaining but also watching over anyone and often plays badly).
Also not surprised to hear that our group isn't the only ones playing a "Razz" (poker variant where you try for the weakest hand) variant of Sushi Go.
I found reversing points to make the game chaotic and more casual.
I'd counter the recommendation with something like
There's probably a more comprehensive list somewhere on BGG (Board Game Geek), but the website is so hard to use I can't find it...
There are more accessible and more strategically meaningful ways to introduce player interaction into a game.
The most promising sign is that most people want to play it again.
1. Is someone else about to win the game? Reserve their card if possible.
2. Can you buy a card? Buy the highest point value card you can.
3. Will taking two chips win the game? If no, take 3.
Splendor is all about efficiency (Which is why taking 2 chips is baaaad. Reserving is situationally good, but usually bad.) At higher player counts, the most efficient player almost always wins. At 2 players, reserving becomes much more strategic and isn't such a generally terrible action.
Side strategic note: Aim for the nobles with the most overlap with each other.
Then there's the management of liquidity of meeples through the lifecycle of the game. You want to invest a lot, early; but you need to try and get them back towards the endgame, so you can steal fields and place in micro-fields.
There's a surprising amount of subtlety that emerges from the gameplay. In particular, learning how different growth patterns make your resources easier or harder to steal, or worse, block from completion.
All that said, I almost always use an expansion or two (or three) to keep things varied and add depth.
Learning all the tiles, and tile counting, both just seemed too dull and annoying to actually do.
It is a fun game if nobody learns the tiles :)
Nice depth of strategy as well. Probably my favorite game in years.
That said, there are games that level the playing field without yielding entirely to chance; such as Dixit, where advantages are rather gained from knowing the other players.
I found it particularly useful to start with games that are good for two players. That way, you need to find only one other person who can be bothered to learn the rules.
Telling someone how to play a game and then going through the motions of playing isn't really fun. Most of the fun is trying things for yourself and figuring stuff out. If a game (like Catan) doesn't allow players to do this, then where is the fun?
Games have a lot of things that are fun.
If I'm a rookie playing chess against someone who knows the game, I don't stand a chance without some pointers along the way -- no fun, for me. I'd much prefer to be taught basic strategy (common forks, "walking the king" to end a game, traditional openings) than struggle through it on my own. That's because the interesting/fun part of chess, for me, is the execution. Of course, I wouldn't want to be told every move, especially once I learned the basics.
Catan (C&K expansion) has only 3 strategies I can think of off the top of my head: Expansion, Development, and Resource Monopolization (typically Sheep Empire, since if another player gets gets enough yellow cards, your wheat or ore monopoly is suddenly an oligopoly instead). Even with the randomness of the starting board, it's not hard to figure out what the best strategy would be, so I don't mind if someone teaches me. The interesting/fun parts are the politics and improvisation that happen when you add other players and it's no longer possible to execute the perfect strategy.
Dominion has much less PvP (your interaction is limited to attack cards and competition over a limited supply of cards) but a wide variety of strategies. With an expansion or two, you probably won't play with the same exact set of action cards more than once, unless you choose to. So while I'd appreciate a veteran giving me some pointers in general ("Don't forget about coins, even if they're less exciting than action cards", "Don't buy VPs early; they'll just clog up your deck"), I'd prefer to figure out my card combination strategy for that game on my own.
Spider Solitaire is strategic like chess (it's fun to try to spot good moves). However, you're fighting incomplete information instead of an opponent -- there's fun in deciding when to deal and how to arrange the board beforehand. Lost Cities is fun for similar reasons, but includes a bit of PvP, mostly competition like Dominion; Stratego takes the PvP up another notch, putting it somewhere between chess and Dominion.
Risk, like chess, is PvP with static starting conditions. However, like Catan, it has a very limited set of strategies. There's variance in rolls of the dice, but it's mostly luck and adds little strategy, so it's only fun for the politics (ever tried 1v1 Risk? Boring). Lux Delux (Risk computer game) is more fun because it allows you to choose from a wide variety of maps, giving it a similar appeal to Dominion (trying to figure out which countries are best, where to stockpile troops and how many, etc).
Or maybe the simplest example: some people want to figure out how to solve a Rubik's cube on their own; others prefer improving their speed.
: You might nitpick that Dominion actually has similarly few strategies but much more varied starting conditions; either way, the main attraction is figuring out which strategy to use this time around.
I have never won a game using expansion alone, but once I did win without ever building a third settlement. I ignored wood and brick altogether, and got largest army and longest road (to nowhere). Everyone else was expanding, and thought I was no threat.
Also it can be over in 15-30 min, so it's easy to play a couple sessions.
With 4 players, you have to weather 3 rounds of potential attacks to get the 2 stars for endurance, whereas in a 2 player game, you only need to survive one round of potential attacks to get the bonus. Furthermore, as you are yielding more often in order to not-die, other players are getting a star for it, so the advantage is less.
"Codenames Duet" though is an example of a co-operative game where the two teams are working together but have to make their own decisions - it's also very easy to pick up for new players, I highly recommend it.
Co-operative games are a tonne of fun but they tend to have complex mechanics and a bit of a set-up time in the beginning. This may be a discouraging factor but they are a lot of fun because everyone comes out of it with a sense of accomplishment after having done something together (if you win of course).
All the good aspects in one.
And any one can get a come back at any time. Hasn't this ever happened to you? You get a lot of sheep/wool, you build a 2:1 sheep port, and exchange all the sheep for stone, etc to upgrade to cities, and so on?
Ever play Dominion with a kid? Their slow shuffling kills.
7th Continent, for example. (And this isn't a criticism - I back a lot of these projects!) was produced by an existing board game company that has the resources to make things in a more "traditional" way, or even handle pre-orders on their own, if they truly believe the format is not good for a traditional print run -> retailer strategy.
Sandy Petersen has had some huge kickstarters for his board games, yet he's a big enough name he certainly doesn't need to do it that way.
KS is great for boardgames because it makes it easier for some certain situations, but I am unsure if it's really accurate to say that it's as big of a deal for boardgames as YC/incubators are for startups.
But you might be right and I might just be a cynical asshole.
While board game designers surely must have learned from video game design, the success of board games cannot be attributed to this cross pollination. Video game designers, of course, have also learned from board games.
One factor that the article mentioned that I do think is increasing purchases is YouTube videos, especially "Let's Play" videos. There, the correlation between video games is clearer, but it's nothing to do with design.
There are a bunch of other popular Youtube series for reviews, but not as many for let's plays.
Much of that makes it frustrating for extreme gamerz, but for people who aren't invested in complicated rule sets and deep strategies, it's perfect.
Not a complaint - but something to be aware of.
I don't think that's a flaw, I believe it's more intended than not, but it is something to be aware of so that players have good expectations.
Though I have not found it to be a good intro game. Even though it is simple I think people get confused with the rules. Also, it really sucks if the newcomer is the betrayer.
Portal is a good example. It tells you the bare minimum before hand in the first minute : move mouse to aim, wasd to move and then every other rule of the game is learned along the way.
I just can't stand board games that consist of 20 minutes of explanation followed by one hour of game.
Explaining rules is a bit like installing software: you do it once, then you run the software as often as you like. If you have to do that every time, maybe the problem is that you're not using the same computer twice.
I'm with on_and_off - modern tabletop games have too much upfront rule-memorization required before one can even start playing. They're actually worse than videogames in that respect, because with a videogame, at least the UI typically implicitly provides some indication of the ways that the player can interact with the game world. i.e. if I click on a unit or building in _StarCraft_, I get a panel of options for what it's capable of doing.
I'm happy that so many people seem to like them, but the amount of effort that needs to be expended before the actual fun starts (and potentially throughout the game) is generally too much for me. I'd probably like them a lot if they were played on some sort of shared table display, where each player would get an interactive list of allowed actions at each turn, instead of having to constantly refer back to the manual.
That is fair, for this I tend to rely on the same thing that I rely on for films and music: a group of friends with varying tastes in "game aesthetics", through which I can get a decent picture of a game by asking different people's opinions. It's easy to forget that this is a luxury not everyone has, though.
RE: comparison to StarCraft: you're underestimating your pre-existing familiarity, forgetting that at one point you had to learn how RTSes work, and that the interface for them has not significantly changed in the last twenty years. Similarly, if you play a lot of board games, you'll notice a lot of mechanics are repeated between different games, and rules are a lot quicker to pick up than twenty minutes (it's kind of comparable to how learning programming languages becomes a lot easier after the first few).
Yes, there obviously is more feedback in computer games, but on the other hand: the only reason you know how to use those units, is because they were introduced one at a time in a campaign.
It is difficult to introduce a slow learning curve to boardgames, unless you start with simple rules and have an "advanced rules for experienced players" section that you can try out after a few games. That only works for a few types of games.
Perhaps this is one of those things where mobile phone apps could help out?
A board game that's designed to be an isolated game session that plays in about an hour simply can't afford to drip feed rules to you over the session, because by the time it finished drip feeding you the rules, the game would have been finished already.
Part of the reason board games usually need so much explanation is the game is because there could be some decisions you make immediately or first turn that could have an effect on how you do in the endgame, so you kind of need to know what those effects are right away.
With video games, you often get 20 minutes of tutorials also, but the game itself lasts 5-10 hours. There are board games that last that long, but they're mostly dungeon crawlers or legacy games that are designed to be played quite a few times with changes between games.
Other games that are designed to be completed in a relatively quick timeframe (I tend to prefer playing those games, honestly), don't have that luxury, unless they're dirt simple to teach. Some people like simple rules games, other people prefer the heavier, more complex games.
Board games also have very few quitters. A person who quits mid-game is usually labeled a jerk and avoided in future. Players might cheat or turn over the table, but griefers can face anything up to physical violence. Players have power to police themselves as they see fit.
Also, while board games are relatively expensive, a whole group can play a single copy. This is almost unheard of in video game world. One example was Starcraft 1 "spawn" feature, another - Age of Wonders 3, where you can play expansions you purchased with people who don't own it. It avoids splintering the multiplayer community. It pays to do some research before buying a game or trying it out a few times.
In computer game world, Heroes of Might and Magic III is called a sequel. In board game world, it would be called an expansion - no joke. The rules are almost the same, almost all additions are incremental.
Board games on the other hand force you to become social and is often times responsible for bringing your groups of friends together more frequently as well as being a toehold into new social circles.
Dedicated servers in shooter games were social and more exciting. Every server was a mini community for players who frequented it, usually because they had "good ping" there. All skill levels mixed together, so on one hand it could be frustrating when a very good player mopped up, but at the same time you could learn from the best. You don't learn much from people just as good as you.
Local multiplayer (same computer), even split screen games were a thing.
Basically all multiplayer games made before the Internet took off were social. Playing DooM in 4 player deathmatch required bringing 4 computers together.
WoW was even more social before they changed things for worse by allowing character transfer between servers and random groups over all realms. It went from getting to know other players by stumbling upon them frequently to being able to experience the whole content while avoiding social activities altogether.
“Addictive game mechanics” are more typical of (superficially, at least) casual, often F2P, games whose monetization model is pay-to-win in-game purchases. That's a fairly recent phenomenon in videogames, and while it's a huge slice of the market now, there's a lot of other games out there.
Dominion is a great example of this. I rarely win but I have great fun building a stupidly optimised deck. For me building the 'perfect' deck is as fun a goal as winning. I once bought two colonies (highest victory card) in once turn, and even though I lost by a few points I felt like I'd won.
This feature is increasingly popular in new games.
The only potential flaw is high player interaction and potential to hurt feelings, but then again it's what many players love about it. Technically it is a bidding game, but most cards you play affect other players, sometimes directly destroying theirs. Kingmaker syndrome is there, but I view it as an interesting puzzle how to win when all other players are out to get me. Except for last rounds, no one is beyond chance of winning.
RoboRally is a very fun game about robots racing in a factory. Each player is dealt 9 program cards (move 2, move 1, turn left, turn right, U-turn, backpedal...) and has to put them in 5 registers. All players do this simultaneously, and a 30-second hourglass is turned over when second-last player finishes. Once done, all players reveal their 1st register and perform the action, then 2nd register, and so on. Robots bump and displace each other, fire lasers at the end of each register phase, move onto conveyor belts, avoid pits, rotating floor, pushers and even collect upgrades. It's a hectic game where making an error results in visually amusing consequences. It's very light on rules, instead it demands more from spatial imagination.
What others do people play regularly?
- Puerto Rico
- Race for the Galaxy
- Lords of Waterdeep
- Le Havre
- Terra Mystica
It’s very well polished and has a very good tutorial.
Currently I am pretty addicted to Puerto Rico online. The turn based or real time options are perfect.
Also check out Troyes. Alternating turns like in Puerto Rico, decisions are highly meaningful (more interaction than in PR and RftG) and it always feels like resources are scarce but many things you'd like to do. It's a bit more complex than PR. Each playthrough is randomized depending on what crafts and events come up.
Board games offer easy prototyping and are enjoyable by a larger audience than computer games (which typically require certain hardware + specific twitch skills)
If you're into H.P. Lovecraft, Eldritch Horror is an even better game, since it kind of captures the vibe of a number of the stories.
However there's a lot of state and visual density that are just easier to work with when in the real world.
What the hell? It's just an article
Take Werewolves, for example. This is a classic roleplaying game, considered one of the originators of the "social deduction" genre. It pits villagers against werewolves hiding among them, where either all villagers end up eaten by the remaining werewolves, or all werewolves are lynched by the remaining villagers. See link for a full description, but the important bit here is that:
- the villagers can only win by determining who the werewolves are, but there are no in-game reasons to suspect anyone of being a werewolf; it is 100% based on roleplaying.
- the game is played out through a process of elimination, removing two players per turn (one suspected werewolf, one werewolf snack). If the group is ten people, that means some people will be watching from the sidelines most of the time.
Both of these issues can be big hurdles to enjoying the game.
Resistance is a "second generation" social deduction game, which removed player elimination. Players are resistance fighters trying to topple an oppressive regime, with a few double agents among them trying to sabotage their efforts. Each turn, players decide together which two or three members will go on missions. If the saboteurs bluff themselves into being sent, they must try to sabotage the mission while deflecting suspicions that it is because of their doing. Meanwhile, the resistance has to figure out who the saboteurs are, to avoid sending them on missions. Which side wins depends on how many missions succeed or fail.
More recently, the lack of in-game discussion starters was solved in Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, where players are investigators trying to solve an ongoing murder case, and one or two of them are secretly the murderer(s). It adds a clue system that is a bit hard to explain here, but in practice immediately provokes discussion while still maintaining the social deduction aspect.
So over two "generations" of game design, two major flaws were eliminated from an otherwise very innovative game genre. And this kind of stuff happens everywhere: all kinds of new, innovative mechanics to solve specific problems are shared and remixed.