Please, Carcassonne Was My Father's Name: The Board Game Thread


#1

Why Board Games

Even though the general reputation of these games has improved in the last couple decades, most people still think of games like Risk, Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity, or Settlers of Catan as representative of the medium. This thread is advocating for the kinds of games someone from Selectbutton would want to actually play.

What Board Games

There are way too many to list, so I’ll make an arbitrary, useless sorting of them. You know which category you belong to.

For Trend


  • Carcassonne: Venerable Tile-laying game, simple to explain and still excellently competitive. Scoring at the end of the game is a pain, but that’s why you play the digital version instead.

  • Dominion: I find this game boring but I won’t question the amount of design work that went into it. It is a game full of complex optimization puzzles. Dominion is loosely inspired by ‘deckbuilding’ mechanics from CCGs, and in turn inspired a million bad copycat games, only one of which I recommend, below.

  • Valley of the Kings: This is my preferred deck-builder (Dominion-derivative). It’s quick, challenging, features player interaction of a more interesting style than ‘Take That!’ mechanics, and all fits in one deckbox with minimal set-up/tear-down time.

  • Race for the Galaxy: A card game with simple rules and well-developed visual design about building a galactic empire. Of the videogame 4X, this game emphasizes exploration, exploitation and expansion, with “exterminate” almost completely down-played. It has one of my favorite ways to handle turn order.

  • Fairy Tale: The drafting game I recommend. Drafting is another mechanic taken from CCGs and turned into their own peculiar subgenre of game. Basically, each player gets a hand of cards, keeps one and passes the rest to the player on their right, until all the cards are gone. They then play 3 of the 5 cards they kept, discarding the remaining 2, trying to score as many points as possible. This repeats for 3 more rounds and the score is totaled.

For Corporate Attitude


  • Coup: This is a battle to be the last one standing in a cyberpunk future. You control two random cards that have special actions on them, but they are hidden from the other players. You of course, can and should lie to the other players about what you control. If they don’t call your bluff, you get to do whatever action you wanted. If they do, you lose control of one card. Once you lose both, you’re eliminated. 20 minute games full of bluffing and counter-bluffing

  • The Resistance: Cyberpunk again. Semi-cooperative. Play with the expansions, this game is great for large groups of people. most of the players are resistance members while a few are spies. The spies are trying to undermine the resistance by going on missions and sabotaging them, while the resistance are trying to figure out who the spies are and successfully complete most of the missions. See which of your friends are completely untrustworthy (all of them).

  • Netrunner: This is probably the premier lifestyle game, though I don’t play it. It’s an asymmetric LCG (like a CCG except you buy complete sets of cards instead of booster packs of random cards). If hacking corporate mainframes through the abstraction of cards sounds appealing to you, I guess try it out.

  • Hanabi: The players are a group of hung-over fireworks technicians who drunkenly jumbled up all their fireworks the night before and are now trying to sort them out on the night of a big festival. It’s entirely cooperative but the player is heavily restricted in the ability to speak. Each player holds their cards facing outward (so that they see the backs of the cards and everyone else sees the fronts of the cards). So each player must spend from a limited pool of resources to give very narrowly constrained clues to the other players. There aren’t enough resources to win easily (I have only gotten a perfect score once) and every group develops their own meta-game intuitively.

For Stoner


  • Dixit: This is like Apples to Apples (or any of its clones) but with surreal art instead of words. You state a verbal clue and put down a card in secret. Everyone else plays the card in their own hands that they think best matches your clue. Then, everyone votes for the card they think was yours. With the way scoring works, the challenge and fun of the game is trying to make a clue that one person will understand but will baffle everyone else.

  • Mysterium: This is Dixit merged with Clue. One of you plays a ghost, everyone else plays a psychic investigator. The ghost sends psychic visions (surreal art cards) to the investigators and the investigators must deduce who committed a murder, where and how from these visions. The ghost only communicates through these visions.

  • Codenames: A team-based word game. Absurdly easy to learn, and it will teach you to hate your friends for not understanding anything you say. Great at parties for this reason. There is a grid of words, representing the codenames of possible agents. Only the two spy-masters know their true identities, and they must communicate this to their respective teams with one-word clues. Great feats of associative logic and leaps of illogic abound.

  • Love Letter: Obligatory mention of this game. It’s probably the most casual game on the list and you can buy a new copy for 10 dollars. Play it with anyone, anywhere, each game takes about 2 minutes. It’s highly variant but fun because of how it is designed around this variance.

True Doom Murderheads


  • Space Alert: Have a real time panic attack while struggling to tell everyone else what they need to do and what you are doing, as asteroids and aliens and viruses and space pirates attack. This game is most similar to FTL, featuring real time disaster management in space. It’s a unique experience, perfectly capturing the feeling of uncertain doom as everything goes wrong at once. But, y’know, for fun…

  • Argent the Consortium: The chancellor of wizard school is dead, and the deans of various departments have one week to be elected the new Chancellor. Probably the best Worker Placement game out right now. Unlike most games in the genre, your workers aren’t essentially action-selection tokens, and each have their own abilities that make this game a hectic cold war, speaking of which

  • Twilight Struggle: The Cold War: the Game, from the co-designer of X-Com: Enemy Unknown. I haven’t played it yet, but I believe it is as good as literally everyone says it is. It’s 2 player only and has been out of print for a while. It’s back in print now.

  • Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition: The other Twilight game of note. There’s a distinct bloody-political bent to true doom murderheads, and that really comes through here, in a magnificent epic of a game, that dwarfs every other attempt at the space opera. My first game took over 10 hours, not including breaks for lunch and dinner.

  • Tragedy Looper: Time travel visual novel board game where the heroes are entangled in a tragic plot and must prevent tragedies from happening in order to win. When they fail, time is reset to the moment before everything went wrong and they are given another chance, though things will probably play out differently. It’s really a monstrously challenging deduction game.

Where do we play

Many of these games can be played with Tabletop Simulator. If you buy it and friend me on Steam and I’ll play them with you. I don’t encourage this option because TTS doesn’t enforce rules and technically most of these games are unofficial/unlicensed on there.

You can also play some of them, and many other good games on BoardGameArena for free. Add me as a friend or post a link to your profile and I’ll add you and I’ll play them there.

If you want to play Netrunner, most people seem to use OCTGN, though I am not familiar with the service. Netrunner can also be found on TTS but in a much less practical form.

Android and iOS has many fine ports of board games, usually for much lower cost than the physical version.


#2

fantastic OP tulpa, this is a resource i will actually use

we found a shack near the edge of campus that lets you play their board games in-store without buying, which means our tabletop group has the chance to try at least the more mainstream stuff (we’ll probably start with betrayal at house on the hill since that was one people had already expressed interest in). hoping they also have coup and resistance there (they probably do). and after that I’ll see what other stuff they have on this list. am i right in assuming space alert is like a rules-heavier spaceteam?

and this is tangential but i want to have proper games of fiasco and microscope eventually as well


#3

Space Alert is definitely more like FTL if everyone controlled a single character and had only a dim idea of what everyone else is doing than it is like Spaceteam, though there are similarities to Spaceteam (mostly in the ‘everyone shouting at everyone else’ feeling). I’m actually looking forward to trying the Spaceteam board game when that comes out, it could be fun.

I want to give a warning about Betrayal at the House on the Hill. It’s the most uneven game. Sometimes the stars align and people have a great time playing it. Others, the game chugs along until the betrayal triggers, and the traitor is instantly defeated or instantly defeats the entire group and the game ends in a boring way. So, while I like the game, it is pretty heavily flawed and it’s worth acknowledging those flaws (since the boardgamegeek hivemind is incapable of doing so)

Games I’m interested in playing on BGA, exclamation points represent how much I want to play them:

  • Jaipur (!)
  • Quantum (!!!)
  • Libertalia (!!)
  • Hanabi (!!)
  • Noir: Killer Versus Inspector (!)
  • Race for the Galaxy (!!)
  • Tash-Kalar (!!!)
  • Caylus (!!!)
  • Tokaido (!!)
  • Through the Ages (!!!)

#4

hey, i’ll play with you if you’ll have me

(especially this month. i get relatively busy again after that)


#5

The next three posts are being migrated from my redundant topic. Sorry for the confusion!


#6

Board, party, and tabletop game thread.

You guys know of any good 8-player games? We’ve been really enjoying Dead of Winter and Pandemic lately, but the group we usually play with has increased to 4 couples, so people have to sit out, which is unfortunate. BoardGameGeek could probably answer this question, but every time I visit the site, I find my time’s run out and all I’ve accomplished is to watch a bunch of video reviews of esoteric games we’re not likely to play.


#7

We have to fight now. I didn’t want to do this. I was going to make a boardgame thread in KoP and declare the vidya/tabletop divide dead.

We should settle this over a game of Tides of Time which is a game I mostly admire for its beautiful card art.


#8

@Tulpa already made a board game thread in KoP, guys

The war is over.


#9

@jsnlxndrlv The Resistance is good, 5-10 players. Codenames is that rare game that gets better with larger groups of players, with 8-10 players being near ideal. Mascarade is yet another hidden identity game that supports very high player counts.

You may have noticed that all of these games tend to be short and simple. That’s because ideally, you’d play them as filler in-between the main games on a game night. More complex games inevitably work better with smaller player counts. Twilight Imperium technically can support up to 8 players with an expansion, but playing a single game of that would take all of a weekend.

So, I dunno, my advice is to start or end a board game night with one of the aforementioned games and then split into two or three groups.

@Mikey Tides of Time has been on my to-buy list for a while, and it might oust Love Letter in my cheap-filler-game category


#10

@jsnlxndrlv One of my favorite games is Eldritch Horror. I have never played it with a full eight players, though. It might be slow with that many people, but I would be willing to try it. Other games I like that support eight but that I’m not sure I’ve ever played with that many include Citadels, Korsar (which is called Loot in English, but I can’t stand the artwork for that version), and Spyfall. (It’s a casual/party-type game, and I typically avoid those, but this one is worth a try.)





#11

I love Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective as a game that scales well from 1-100, co-operative or competitive. The original cases do require some jumps in reasoning, which can throw off the more logical-deductive types.


#12

I think Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is best with 2 or 3 but its true, it is a game that doesnt really have a player limit

@wourme don’t do Eldritch Horror with 8 people. Eldritch Horror is one of those games that was clearly balanced for 4 people and tends to double in play-time and halve in fun-time with every additional player.


#13

I really like BANG with a big group, although 8 may be pushing it.

Fiasco is great! At least as someone observing Improv Theatre People playing it.

I’ll link to my profile on that free games site when I figure out what my number is! My name is marmaduke


#14

ah ok. I think I added you as a friend. For ref, here’s my profile

Anyone who has signed up should be able to add me


#15


#16

@parker, you should play Witness

It’s a four player game where each player is a witness to a crime, but they all saw something different. They can’t communicate openly. Instead they whisper what they know to the person next to them. Then the person just whispered to whispers what they know and what they just heard to the other person next to them. Repeat until everyone has gotten incredibly mangled versions of what they said whispered back to them. Then, everyone tries to privately solve the crime.

Also play Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, which @falsedan mentioned.

Really board games themed around crime tend to be great right now. I don’t think there’s a good bank-robbing board game yet, though I have some incomplete designs for such.


#17

I don’t know 3 real life human beings I’d be comfortable with whispering to me all night

Does sega-cd consulting detective count or is it too compromised from the board game


#18

I never played the Sega CD one. I imagine it can’t be any more compromised than the current Ystari edition of the board game, which I have and which rewrote the solution to one of the mysteries in a way that makes no sense because they didn’t rewrite the clues.

There’s something wonderfully tactile about SH:CD as a board game, it manages to put you in the right state of mind to solve mysteries because you are looking at a real map of London and reading a believable facsimile of a newspaper to look for clues.


#19

You can get beat-up copies of the editions from the 80s for a few bucks. Gumshoe (ala Raymond Chandler/Dashiel Hammett) costs a fucking fortune…


#20

Congratulations on finishing your first game of Twilight Imperium in 10 hours, that’s pretty fast from my understanding of the game.